By Nik Donovic, Special for USDR.
College should be one of your life’s greatest periods. You’ll learn about the world, meet new people, and develop your personality. These experiences will create the future you. College life can get tricky, however. Students today face obstacles which may seem overwhelming. But don’t panic—things will be fine as long as you think ahead and act responsibly. Follow these tips to stay on track, both socially and academically.
Be open to people
College brings people from all over the world into one community. Take chances and meet some of them. Dorm buildings are like mini-metropolises, teeming with students from Alaska to Zimbabwe. Be friendly, be curious, and be open. You might never get another chance in life to make friends with someone from Belarus, so take the opportunity while you’ve got it. You’ll hear new jokes, eat new food, and get new perspectives on the world.
Structure time for studying
Studying the night before exams until six in the morning, fueled by pizza and coffee, may be a staple of the Hollywood college experience, but it won’t work in real life. College classes are a challenge, and your brain needs to absorb information at a reasonable pace. Start small: just 45 minutes a night of reading can help you develop your thoughts, master your subjects, and—of course—please your professors.
Take care of yourself
You may feel invincible, but don’t forget to look after your health and safety. Eat well. Get some exercise. Drive safely. Follow the law. The feelings of freedom new students have when the get out of their parents’ watch can seem complete and overwhelming. Remember that responsibility goes hand-in-hand with that freedom. You’re an adult now.
When planning your course load, think long-term. Where will this knowledge take you in life? Do you have a career in mind? If so, speak with your academic advisor about which classes will get you there. If not, no problem, you still have time to plan. Work part-time to get a feel for your strengths. Look through job descriptions, and find a career that works for you. Keep in mind not to overload yourself with too many classes. Don’t let that part-time job get in the way of your studies! Remember that college will serve you long-term. Don’t short-change your education just to get some quick spending money.
Your university will have clubs. Lots of them! Access your school’s website. There, you will find groups of people who would love to have you as a member. Find people with similar interests, or experiment with a new hobby; either way, you will participate in a positive community of people in situations similar to yours. The support of friends during the sometimes scary events of your college experience can be crucial.
Take advantage of your school’s resources
Your school wants you to succeed. Let it help you do so—get familiar with the library, the financial services office, your academic advisor, and your residential coordinator if you have one. Get to know these offices and their staff early, and understand how to use their services before there’s an emergency.
Nik Donovic resides in the state of Arizona where he spends much of his time outdoors or traveling. When he’s not enjoying nature, he’s either working on his car, reading a good book, or keeping up to date with new technology.