College is described by many as “the best time of your life.” Little do they add that it can also be the busiest. The transition into college from high school can seem sudden and overwhelming if you’re unprepared. As a student currently in the thick of college, here are some lessons I didn’t learn from a textbook.
How to Create Your Schedule
College classes are very different than high school ones. It is not a scheduled 8-hour day. Some days you might have two classes, and others you might have four. It varies depending on how you set up your schedule. When creating a schedule, always be sure to book an appointment time with your advisor. This way you can ensure you are taking the correct classes for your major, and will graduate on time. A keynote in creating a schedule is to not overextend yourself. Be sure to factor in homework time, exercise time, and even some time for fun!
How to Manage Your Free Time
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in college is knowing how to be proactive with your free time. Like I mentioned earlier, it is important to schedule some time for yourself to relax. It is never a good idea to spend all day studying and doing homework; but, it also is a terrible idea to spend all day watching Netflix. It’s all in a happy balance. A great way to achieve that balance is to have a checklist. Everyday, wake up and write out what you need to do, and as you complete that task, check it off. Here’s a great printable checklist template.
How to Prepare for Exams
Many college classes are structured with one or more midterms throughout the course and one final exam. If you do poorly on one test, it can severely drag down your overall grade. There are no second changes in college: if you fail, that’s on you. So, it is VITAL to study. You will be given a syllabus the first day of classes, which is going to be your new best friend. Everything about the course, the instructor, and the exam dates will be on there. The first day you receive the syllabus, go through your planner and write down every exam and assignment due date. That way, when you go through your weekly planner, you can always see what’s coming up.
How to Study Well
The best way to study is to be in a quiet space with limited distractions. Whatever you do, don’t study in your dorm room. There are constant interruptions from roommates and friends, and it’s way too easy to get bored and lay in bed. Go to the library or a quiet coffee shop and study there. Bring all your supplies: notebooks, flashcards, pens/highlighters, laptops, and textbooks. Always pick stopping points and take breaks, otherwise you will stress yourself out.
How to Avoid Gaining the Dreaded Freshman 15
One of the easiest things to forget to do in college is to take care of yourself. All of these new changes in your life can lead you to forget to exercise and eat healthy. The best way to avoid gaining weight is to keep a regular workout schedule. You could do it in the morning before classes, after classes, or even in between classes. Just do it daily! But working out won’t do any good if you are not eating healthy. If you are eating in the dining hall, always make sure you choose the healthy options over the tater tots. Eat fruits, veggies, and protein with every meal. Bring healthy snacks to classes, rather than getting chips from the vending machine. Never, ever skip breakfast, you will just end up eating more throughout the day, adding excess calories to your diet. In addition, don’t forget to sleep for at least 8 hours a night, and drink plenty of water. While these are healthy daily habits to adopt, splurging occasionally isn’t bad: instead of impulsively consuming junk food, plan a couple times to treat yourself or to go out for pizza with your friends!