College Survival Guide

College Survival GuideCollege can be a fun, exciting, and adventurous time; however, it can also have its scary moments as well. You will inevitably get lost around campus, be unprepared for a pop quiz, and have issues with your roommate – but it doesn’t have to always be that way. Here are a few tips to help you get your college journey started on the right track.

Even before you start classes, try to find someone you know that is older and also attends your college. A mentor is a priceless thing to have – they can inform you on what to expect and how to prepare, and also introduce you to people who share your interests so you can get a head start at being active on campus. They may even offer you a much-needed ride to the grocery store from time to time!

Schedule in advance
If you have an idea of what you want to major in, schedule your next four years of classes…now. In having to look at all of the prerequisites and requirements for your major, you will be able to make informed decisions when it comes to sticking with or changing your selected major or minor, deciding how many semesters you want to take to complete your degree, and more. Additionally, scheduling in advance allows you to save time and money by forgoing unnecessary classes and figuring out your summer plans – whether it be a summer at home taking classes in an effort to graduate on time, a mission trip to Haiti, backpacking through Europe, or an internship in Los Angeles.

Be open and honest
From day one, clearly communicate with your roommate about each other’s expectations. Discuss bed and wake-up times, procedures for having people over, alcohol and substance rules, study/quiet times, cleaning expectations, and opposite gender restrictions.

Though it may seem awkward and premature to discuss such things in the beginning, it is completely necessary to have an up-front conversation about rules and expectations. The longer you wait to talk about these things, the more difficult it will be to change unpleasant behaviors and habits later.

Don’t procrastinate, seriously
In college, there will be plenty of distractions. Rush events, community service opportunities, dorm hall socials, exclusive seminars, fairs, exhibits, band concerts, fraternity parties, and club meetings will all be available to you; however, you must prioritize your time and not fall behind in your studies.
Since most classes only have a midterm, final, and maybe a paper or two, there are not many opportunities to prove yourself worthy of the coveted “A.” One misstep can wreck your grade, GPA, and maybe even intentions of fulfilling your intended major or attending your desired graduate school. Take school seriously. You came to college to get an education, so make sure that’s what you are committed to doing.

Get engaged early
In the first week of school, there will be dozens, if not hundreds of opportunities to get involved. Clubs will be tabling, pamphlets will be given out, flyers will be posted, and maybe Greek members will attempt to recruit – but ultimately it is up to you to pursue opportunities.

Participating in extracurricular activities is essential to your college career. Through them you will get to meet people, figure out what clubs and/or organizations you want to join, and truly embark on your collegiate journey. However, do not limit your engagement to only extracurricular activities – become engaged in your academic experience as well. Sit near the front, email your TA if you have a question, and get to know your professor either in class or through office hours. Professors can be your greatest assets. They can help you in class and inform you of relevant job and/or research opportunities.

Be flexible
If you are one of those students who already pre-scheduled your classes, looked up ahead of time what clubs you wanted to join, and essentially mapped out your entire life for the next four years – mentally prepare yourself for change.

God may have other plans for you, and may close some doors but open others. Just pray and be ready to be God’s hands and feet whenever needed. Don’t let your preconceived notions of what is best for you get in the way of the wonderful plan God as has for you. Remember that the Lord says in Isaiah 55:8-9 that, “just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” God has a great, wonderful, and unimaginable plan for you; try not to get so wrapped up in your own plans that you do not see a God-inspired opportunity when one arises.

Cresonia Hsieh is a current college student at the University of Florida and a freelance writer for the Good News. You can contact her at [email protected].

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