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What an (Almost) Semester in College Taught Me

Disclaimer: I go to a technical college, so my advice may vary depending on your type of college.

As my first semester of college comes to an end, I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned for anyone going into college in the future.  I have outlined my advice in bullet points, so you can get a quick summary, then read more if it resonates with you.

  • Do Not Get Behind
    • This may seem obvious, but it really is immensely important. In college it is very difficult to get caught up once you are behind on your work.  I like to view it like a pipeline.  If you stop work you are basically stopping the flow of water, thus allowing the water to build up.  When you start working again, all of the water will spill out and be almost impossible to get through.
  • Go to Class
    • Another one that seems obvious, but colleges can be very lenient when it comes to attendance, so it can be tempting to skip class. It is very hard to learn the material if you are not in class, thus creating a similar pipeline situation as listed above.  Plus it looks bad with teachers.
  • Study
    • This is crucial to your collegiate success. I have learned that most teachers will be more than happy to provide study guides and other study tips to help you.  Your fellow classmates are another great resource, you can study together and benefit from what you each can bring to the table.  I also try and use interactive ways to study, mainly on the computer.  Quizlet is my best friend for remembering complicated terms!
  • Plan Out Long Assignments
    • Many of my assignments are multi-day projects, and they cannot be completed in one day. So, chunking out your assignments is a must.  You need to lay out a good plan of how to complete your assignment.  I often make reminders in my phone or calendar events to remember to complete parts of a project.
  • Use the Resources at Your School
    • Use what you have available to you. Many schools have student resource centers.  I often go to the library at my school and try and finish all my assignments before I go home, since I know that I have trouble focusing on schoolwork once I get home.  Many schools also have tutors available to help you study and most schools provide tutors without extra charge.
  • Relax
    • This one was probably the hardest one for me because I am a very anxious person, but I know that I cannot accomplish anything when I am stressed. Especially during your Junior and Senior years of high school, college can seem very scary.  I really have never enjoyed school until college, and most of my friends in college feel the same way.  So just enjoy college!

What helped you through college?  For those who attended four-year liberal arts colleges, is there anything you would add to this?


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Comment by Adrienne Kleinman on December 14, 2018 at 4:12am

Sammy, thank you for sharing! All of your advice is really wise and thoughtful. I especially like your metaphor about the pipeline--something I found to be very true while in college. I often would complete required readings in advance so that I always remained ahead with my assignments! 

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