Making the Most of Your First Year at College
Often students spend so much time preparing for college, they don’t know what to do when they get there! Whether it’s joining a fraternity or social club, playing sports or volunteering, there are many new opportunities available at college. Students, however, need to balance these new experiences with the reason why they’re at college- to get an education. The following are some tips on how students can both respect their academic responsibilities and get the most out of other aspects of college life.
Don’t Blow Off Too Many Classes.
Unlike high school, attendance at college classes is optional, for the most part. Students are often tempted to skip class to sleep in or hang out with friends, and while missing a class here and there can be reasonable; missing too many classes can have very serious consequences for your grades and overall academic standing. Many courses have participation marks, which means just showing up is an easy way to ensure a decent grade. Students should also keep in mind that a low GPA from your first year can be all but impossible to raise, no matter how much work you put into your upper years of college.
Set Up a Schedule.
Maintaining a schedule is just as important to knowing when your paper is due as the date of the next big varsity football game. Pulling all-nighters may seem like an integral part of the college experience, but it is not a productive or sustainable study strategy. By knowing ahead of time when to expect to be busy with school assignments, students can also more effectively plan for (stress-free!) social events.
Visit Your Professor.
Even if you feel you know the course material, taking some time to visit your professor during their office hours can be a very rewarding experience. For students contemplating graduate school, building relationships with professors in your first year can result in comprehensive and positive reference letters when it comes time to apply. A chat with your professor now and then can help you better understand your course material, keep in mind that professors are often great at pointing out resources for your assignments.
Get Enough Sleep, Exercise and Eat Right.
It seems simple, but taking the time to take care of yourself can help you have a positive and productive first year. If you’re tempted by the daily pizza special in the cafeteria, think about taking the stairs instead of the elevator to class. Be sure to check out the school gym- usually its membership is included in your tuition fees. Getting enough sleep is important to not only paying attention in class, but ensuring you have enough energy to hang out with friends.