How to Survive Your First Year of College

Transitioning from high school to college or university can be quite a big change. In high school, you’re a kid who receives a lot of direction from teachers who seem like they’re watching everything you do. In college or university, though, you an adult who is expected to take your learning into your own hands with professors whose jobs stop at class lectures. This might seem great; you finally get to only rely on yourself and your teachers will finally leave you alone! But it can quickly get overwhelming. If you’re entering your first year of college or university, check out these tips on how to survive the year.

Attend Your Lectures

This might seem like common sense. Why wouldn’t you go to classes, especially ones that you’re paying for? However, sleeping in is often a more appealing option than getting up and going to an early morning lecture. Your professors probably won’t notice or necessarily care and the notes are already posted, so what does it matter? You can just go through the notes and textbook on your own and it’ll be just as effective. However, a lot of the time professors will go more in-depth when they’re lecturing, and something that didn’t make sense will be a lot easier to understand once they explain it. They also might give hints about future assignments and tests or give you little bits of information that might not be in your textbook. And will you really go through the notes yourself or are you just trying to give yourself a reason to stay home? It’s easier to just go to a lecture rather than being stressed about things you might have missed.

Take Lots of Notes

Trust me, you won’t remember that one random fact that your professor said at the beginning of class, it’s a much better idea to just write it down. A lot of professors will post the notes for their lectures online, which you can print off and write extra information directly, or you can bring a laptop or tablet to class and type up some notes instead. Write down any information that seems relevant or that might be included on the next assignment or test. Even if you write down too much information, you’ll be thankful for having too much instead of having not enough!

Get to Know Your Professors

Having a professional relationship with your professors will make it a lot easier to go to them if you have questions about any course material. This can be something as simple as actively participating in class, or going to introduce yourself to them during their office hours. Professors can seem very intimidating, but in my experience, they are all very friendly and appreciate you taking the time to establish that relationship.

Balance Your Schoolwork and Social Life

With college and university comes new friends and lots of parties. As someone who goes to a community college, I can tell you that there is always a party of some sort going on almost every weekend, and sometimes even throughout the week. You always hear that you need to “take in the college experience”, but part of the college experience is going to your classes and doing assignments. That’s not to say that you should stay away from social outings altogether, but work to find a balance between the schoolwork that you need to get done and the parties that you want to go to.

Find Your People

Lots of people move out for the first time to go to college, which can get lonely really fast, especially if you don’t know anyone at your new school. If you’re entering a set program, you’ll be able to meet people quite easily as you’ll most likely be in the same classes with a lot of the same people! If you are going into general studies, you’ll most likely have lots of different classes with lots of different people. You can always strike up a conversation with the person you sit next to (just not during class!). If you don’t find anyone in class you want to talk to, join a club! Most colleges and universities have all sorts of clubs and you’re sure to find something that fits within your interests.

College and university is a great experience and you’ll learn a ton, as long as you can survive first year! Finding a balance with things you need to do and things you want to do and getting involved with your classes and the people around you are the easiest ways to easily make it through your first year!

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