College is the seven-letter word that sparks nervousness and excitement all in one. Take it from me, a girl who decided to be the first in her family to attend college out of state. Before college you receive all of these preconceived notions about what to do and how to do, when to speak and when to listen, who to follow and the best time to lead. However, all this advice is good, but you won’t truly have all the answers until your feet touch the campus grounds. College is an embodiment of stress, freedom, raw independency, and so much more. There are 5 crucial steps I’ve learned throughout my two-year college journey so far and hopefully they will help and inspire at least one of you!
Step 1: Be YOUrself
College can be defined as the place where you find yourself, but it can also be a place where you can lose yourself. You no longer have the comfort of living with your parents, you are thrown into a new environment, and meeting new people can be both rewarding and challenging. You don’t realize how fast your life changes. In light of all the changes you have to try to remain true to yourself. If it’s a decision you don’t want to live with for the rest of your life maybe you consider other options. There are so many different influences, but you have to decipher what works for you, who you want to be in life, and how will you get to that destination.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Step 2: Attend Class
A lot of your college success can be accredited to attending class. Unlike high school, in college you can choose your schedule which means your courses can be in the daytime, in the evening, and even online. Knowing your body and what is a good schedule for your classes is extremely important. Even if your professors don’t know your name by the end of the semester, they will definitely remember your face. When it’s time to take tests that you studied extra hard for but still somehow manage to make a C- is when having a good attitude, good attendance, and having a good repour with your professor may help. You will still be successful because of attitude, attendance, and repour. College is full of adventures that you may never experience again but remember your purpose is to obtain a higher education.
Step 3: Know Comfort Zone
College is one of the BEST places to make lifelong friends and also where you can make outstanding connections. It can be uncomfortable to trust the uncertainty, the unexpected, and the unknown, but it necessary as the college journey can take a lot of unexpected experiences. I have to admit it was a difficult task for me, but I have slowly adapted to the changes. If there are events hosted on campus and I don’t think they will be beneficial, I still try to attend because you never know what you will learn, who you will meet, and what opportunities may be available. So, step outside of your comfort zone and be open to the world of new experiences.
Step 4: Maintain Mental Health
Peace and mental health are imperative for college success. It can be extremely overwhelming, but you have to remember to maintain your emotional, mental, and physical health. If your body and mind aren’t taken care of then you can’t function properly. It is always a good thing to find someone you trust to share all of your problems with even if this means visiting your campus’ counseling department. It may appear that no one is going through the same thing as you but there is always someone that can relate. You should also take advantage of your universities counseling department as a resource. Receiving extra help isn’t something you should be ashamed of because I promise you there are other students going through the same thing and you may very well set the pace for others to speak out.
“Stress, anxiety and depression are caused when we are living to please others.” -Paulo Coelho
Step 5: Time Management
Time management is essential in everything you do but especially throughout your college career. If you know you want to go to the party coming up this weekend finish all of your work ahead of time. I am personally still working on this step myself. The college experience can be the best time of your life, but you have to manage and have a routine as a balance between work and play. Usually what I try to do is stay a week ahead of my professors. I am a cheerleader at my university, so this allows me a great balance between my extra-curricular activities and my school work. I believe that this schedule has allowed me to maintain my position on Dean’s List for 3 semesters now.
These 5 steps with persistence, dedication, and faith should leave you thinking about college positively. Don’t let any preconceived notions deter you from your ideal college journey. College is all about what you make it, and anybody can complete the difficult task with these 5 steps!
“If you want to be more powerful in life, educate yourself.” -Unknown