By now you’ve likely settled into your new college home. Either you are stressed out, or having a ball (maybe you’re both). If you are stressed out, don’t worry because it will get better in time.
So whether you’ve gone away, or living at home and commuting, there are certain things you should have accomplished by now, which would be 30 days! I look back on my time as an undergrad, and there are somethings I wish I had done after the first month of my freshman year. So after reflecting, I’ve decided that you probably should have done the following:
- connected with your professors (I’m talking about visiting them during their office hours)
- made at least one good, reliable friend
- networked with at least one classmate from all your classes whom you can rely on for notes in case you have to miss a class. You should return the favor, of course!
- found your ideal study place (mine was the library). FYI, it should not be your bed!
- played tourist in your new home (this applies to those who’ve left home for college)
- joined at least two clubs
- found a cool restaurant to go to on a weekly basis
- know your way around campus, especially where all the important offices are
- picked out one day of the week that is a “you day”, in other words a day dedicated to you, free from school work of any kind. Mine was Sunday!
- checked out the Greek scene (no worries if you haven’t joined one)
If you haven’t completed all of the above, that’s okay. But you should have achieved at least five – I did! The purpose of this checklist is to make things easier on yourself when the demands of college increase – and they will! College is supposed to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, so it’s important to learn from those that have already been down this road. So all the best the rest of the way! Learn lots but at the same time enjoy the ride!
That time of year has come again, when colleges across the country are back in session. If you’re a freshman, you’ve likely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement all the way to sadness. The whirlwind of changes and new experiences probably has your head spinning right about now. Don’t worry, because things will get better from here on.
So much to do over the year and yet so little time. I’ve just started my first year earning my Master’s Degree in education, so I know what it’s like. It’s kind of nice and refreshing to see those freshman students on campus as I recall my days as an undergrad. I’d like to share with you a few things YOU SHOULD DO during your first week at college. This goes for those of you that are living at home and commuting to school, too.
- Make sure your professors know who you are. Briefly introduce yourself after class, or better yet drop by their office. Not only does this demonstrate your interest in the course, but they will remember you when you need help. This is a must if you happen to be attending a school with 30,000 plus students. Most professors will expect you to take responsibility and initiative.
- Meet someone new every day. This is the time when new students are desperate to make friends, so dive in and say hello! Strike a conversation with someone in class or the student center – it’s easier than you think. New friends will come in handy when homesickness and the college grind kicks in.
- Find your ideal place to study. The student center and the library may seem the obvious, but sometimes they are not the best. You’d be surprised how crowded and noisy the library can get. Find at least two places to hit the books in case one doesn’t work out. Some classroom buildings on campus have quiet spaces to study. You’ll be almost guaranteed peace and quiet since most students study elsewhere. Where ever you study, just make sure it’s not in your dorm room.
- Explore the city/town in your college. If you’re away from home, the first week is the best time to take in everything your new home has to offer. As the grind of papers and tests mount you will have less time for this. Depending on your location, the weather will change, making it more difficult to see the sights.
- Establish a good relationship with your roommate. This only applies if you’re living in the dorms. You will be sharing a room with this person for the next eight to nine months, so it’s important that you get off on the right foot. Have a simple conversation and make the appropriate compromises needed.
- Know all your important dates. No not that kind of date, I’m talking about all your test/exam dates and assignment deadlines. They are all printed in your syllabus, so make sure you record them on your tablet/smart phone or agenda. Most professors will not remind you about deadlines as they expect you to consult the syllabus – so be forewarned.
I hope you find this helpful and that your college experience is everything you desire. College is what you make of it and you will look back on it for many years after graduation.
Does this image make you cringe? You know that thought – back to school, back to books, back to teachers, etc. I remember being depressed at this time of year when I was a kid. Always anticipating going back to school after relaxing, sometimes exciting summers to face homework, classes and a few kids that didn’t like me. It seems like yesterday it was the middle of June and now bam! The end of August is here, which also means the end of summer. For many of you, you’re already back in school and are thinking ‘Meh, this blog doesn’t apply to me.’ Well, don’t stop reading yet, because there’s some pieces in this posting which you might find useful. After all, the school year has only just begun. For the rest of you, you’re getting set for the upcoming school year – buying new clothes, school supplies and likely burning holes in your parents’ pockets buying the latest gadgets. Some of you are actually looking forward to going back to school, while some are running away in fear from the constant back-to-school advertising that is constantly popping up everywhere. So what can you do to get over the fear of the upcoming year and make the most of it? Firstly, accept that it is coming and you can’t turn back time, unless you’re lucky enough to come across a genie in a lamp – Do tell me if you find one!
Going back to school represents so many opportunities, whether it be to make a fresh start, improve yourself (and your GPA!) or making new friends. The year is yours and you should do everything you can to make it a good one. For all you kids out there, here’s a few tips to help make the most of the school year.
- Try something new – For you freshmen, this will be easy. For the rest, try something new that you didn’t do the year before. Try joining the student council, joining a new club (or just joining one period) or audition for a school play. There’s something for everyone!
- Make new friends – try befriending the one of the new students. It can help expand your circle of friends, as well as helping someone new adjust to school life. Don’t let yourself be put off by the fact that this person is new (it’s natural to fear the unknown). Remember when you were new! Who knows? There will be other times in your life when you’re the new guy or girl. And certainly don’t let your current friends put you off meeting new people; don’t let them make you miss out on something great.
- Set goals – Try to set three goals that you want to accomplish over the school year. If that’s too much, try for at least one goal a semester. That could be improve your grades, overcome a difficult subject, or become the most popular kid in school (if you can do that in a semester, I’ll commend you). Moreover, set a goal you want to accomplish outside of school. Think about something you want to see change in your personal life – make that your goal. After all, improving yourself doesn’t have to be contained within the school walls!
And for you parents, I imagine you’re going through as much stress as your kids. There’s a few things you can do to help your kids adjust to the new school year:
- Preparation – help your kids adjust early by say having them go to bed and getting up early. You can do this the week before school starts. This will help to get them used to getting up early for school, since they’ve likely spent most of the summer sleeping in until noon.
- Set limits – This I’m referring to how much time they spend on all of their electronic wizardry (you know what I mean). There’s so much more distractions today than back in my day, I wonder how kids get their work done. This will help your kids stay focused on the constant homework and assignments that pop up.
- Reward – After the first week of school, reward your kids. Take them out to dinner, a movie, etc. The first week is often the toughest, and they need to let out a little steam.
I do hope this helps. I wish I’d thought of all this when I was in school. Make this year the best school year possible. Just get involved in school and remember your schoolwork is the most important. Always make that your number one priority!