I’m about to begin my seventh year of college. Obviously, this makes me a complete and total expert on all things college. Whether you’re beginning community college or a four year university, I have devised a list of 30 Tips that I have picked up over my time as being a 15 year old homeschooler at Maple Woods and as my 21 year old self going into my final year of undergrad. It’s a mix of things I learned: both things people said to me that I took to heart and things people told me that I ignored/later regretted. Enjoy!
30 Tips on How to Not Suck at College
(In no particular order of importance)
- Guys, go to class. Seriously, don’t be stupid and skip all the time. Your mom and dad aren’t here to tell you to get up for school. Take some responsibility for your life and get your butt to class.
- For the love of everything good and right in the world, backup your files. You know that flash drive that you rely on? That little thing that holds every paper you have to turn in this semester? Yeah, it’ll probably poop out on you during finals week. It takes like two seconds to drag and drop files into an online storage site like Google drive. Use it or you will call your parents sobbing in December.
- Prioritize sleep. There are times I am planning my homework and social schedules around my bedtime. All-nighters are horrid and if you’re up until 3:30am every single night, you will be a miserable grump.
- Get a job. Most campuses have a lot of on-campus work options, but towns that have colleges are usually pretty good with working with student schedules.
- Know your resources. Schools often offer a lot of free services, like tutoring and counseling centers.
- Drink more water than any other liquid.
- If you feel like you’re the only person who isn’t drinking, don’t feel lame, cause you aren’t the only one.
- If you are drinking, for the sake of you and everyone around you, be safe and considerate. Literally no one wants to have puke in their car or on their living room floor.
- Join a club. Or two. Or six. Clubs are GREAT.
- I am a huge advocate for flashcard studying. Focus on what you are writing and get a friend to quiz you on the cards you’ve made.
- Don’t use your microwave for science experiments. If you’re wondering what happens to candy corn when you put it in the microwave, let me save you the trouble: it smells like burnt cotton candy and turns into sugary lava that breaks bowls.
- Set clear ground rules with your roommate(s). If an issue comes up, talk about it and resolve it as soon as possible. The longer you let things fester, the quicker bitter feelings build up.
- It is not the end of the world if you have to drop a class. Preferably, do it before deadlines hit so you can get if not all then some of your money back.
- Professors have office hours: utilize them.
- Become a secret agent in the dining hall. Some might frown upon smuggling out extra fruit or yogurt, but it’s a nice way to have study snacks for later. Also, you’re spending a ton of money already, might as well stretch your dollar.
- People will get mad at you if you leave your clothes in the washer and/or dryer. This anger could lead to your clothes being tossed on the floor. Don’t be that person.
- Take pictures and/or make videos with your college pals. This time does not last forever, so take advantage of the awesome tools we have to save some memories.
- Look back at Tip #7. Same thing applies with sex. If you don’t want to have sex/ don’t feel ready for it, do not allow anyone to make you feel stupid for not doing stuff that you aren’t comfortable with.
- Find friends that you can work well alongside. I’ve been told by a few people to never work with your friends, but I beg to differ with that statement. The best work partner I’ve ever had is my best friend and the fact that he and I know each other so well makes work more enjoyable and manageable.
- Learn how to budget, whether or not you have a job.
- Find yourself a podcast that talks about a subject that interests you, especially if you have a long drive back home. This podcast can also come in handy on long walks to classes or having background noise for homework evenings.
- Freaking text your mom. She misses you.
- You don’t need as many clothes/shoes/accessories as you think you do. You’ll probably end up wearing the same pair of shoes everyday and honestly, no one really cares what you look like.
- HOWEVER: If you enjoy dressing up, you do you! Don’t feel like you have to change yourself just because you’re starting college.
- Even if you don’t like sports, try to go to a few games, especially if they’re free with your student ID. During my first year at Missouri Western, I randomly found a bunch of theatre majors at a football game and we had a grand time talking about our career goals while our team got whipped.
- Not everyone knows what weed smells like before going to college, and no, you’re not dumb for not knowing what it smells like. If you’re like me and didn’t know until you lived on the fourth floor of a building (which causes all the smoke to float up to your room), it smells like skunk spray.
- Sometimes, if your neighbor is being rowdy, instead of going straight to your RA, just knock on their door yourself. Half the time, it’s just a bunch of boys who look like they could still be in middle school yelling at a video game. They’ll be quieter if you tell them you have an 8am the next morning.
- Do not rule out picking up new hobbies when you go to college. While yes, you shouldn’t change yourself, it’s good to expand your interests; it can lead to new friends! For example, I never thought I would be a WWE fan, but now I have a Ricochet t-shirt and I love Becky Lynch with all my heart. Watching wrestling with my fella’s roommates has opened up a whole new world of friendships that I wouldn’t have had if I had stuck to my mentality of, “ugh, no, I don’t wanna watch this because my cousin in middle school loves WWE.”
- Any time a teacher offers extra credit, do it. Don’t be a fool.
- Understand that it’s normal and okay for your high school relationships to drift apart when you go to college. This was something I struggled with hardcore my first three semesters at Missouri Western. I had a death grip on my high school friendships that I wanted so badly to stay strong. Because of this, I wasn’t fully living in the moment and enjoying my new friends. There’s nothing wrong with missing your hometown pals, but know that you shouldn’t shut out the possibility of new relationships.
College is an awesome time of growth, self-discovery, and(as stressful as it can be) should be a ton of fun. Make the most of the time you have. You have no idea how fast time flies until you’re getting ready to pack up your life one last time for senior year.
Do you have any tips to share about the college experience? I’d love to read them in the comments below! To everyone preparing for school to begin, I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a great 2019/2020 school year!
Until Next Time,