College will be filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. There is no avoiding that. However, don't worry, because there are plenty of life hacks and words of wisdom to get you through it. As you enter your freshman year, you will hear different advice from everyone on the best way to "do college," and it can become extremely overwhelming. This list is the best advice I have for anyone who wants to do well in college, based on my own experience. Enjoy.
1. Find a designated study spot
And make sure this spot is not also where you are used to eating or doing other fun activities. I know this sounds strange, but studies show that you can actually train your body to match certain locations with tasks (example: you may find yourself more hungry in the kitchen because that is where you are used to eating) This works, and it is actually something that I do! If you can make one spot specific for studying, your body will begin to recognize that and you will get more done.
2. Focus on time management
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to stay focused on your studies and make sure you are getting everything done, but you need to be able to gage and time manage so that you have a social environment too. It is salient for your sanity. Set aside an hour to study and go out after, one night every week. It is super important to get connected with other students and make friends. Does this mean going to every party and getting super hammered? No, definitely not. But going out every once in a while and meeting people is a good idea, and you will learn that in life, connections are everything—more to come on this one.
3. College is not always fun
There will definitely be nights that you consider dropping out and becoming a stripper (don’t even google their salary, it makes it more tempting) College isn’t easy, but that makes it all the more rewarding. You will have some of the most fun times of your life, but you will also be excessively stressed and overwhelmed sometimes too, and that is totally normal and OK. You will survive.
4. Two words: Stress Management
This is different for everyone, but you have to find a way that works to manage stress. Singing, going for a walk, playing a sport, drawing, whatever it is, make time for it, because taking a break from studying is just as important as the studying itself…research have actually showed that studying is most effective in shorter increments with breaks in-between. Treat yo-self.
5. Keep an open mind
Oh my gosh, this is so so so key to everything in life, especially when you enter college. You will learn so much if you are open to hearing everyone’s opinions and keeping your own opinions flexible. Everyone has things they feel very strongly about and definitely stay true to yourself, but also be open to hearing someone else’s side, everyone has a reason for believing what they believe, and gaining another perspective on anything is always beneficial, even when you don’t necessarily agree.
6. Take Risks
Join the club you have always been interested in. Play that intramural sport that you may not have the most skills in. The awesome thing about college is that you have the opportunity to completely recreate yourself (if you want!). It is not often in life that you have the chance to start over and be whoever you want to be, so do it right and take those chances, you won’t regret it.
7. Jump at opportunities
When your teacher mentions an internship or a fellow student offers to help you get connected to something that sounds fun, don’t brush it off or wait for them to keep pushing, because they most likely won’t. When an opportunity presents itself, be proactive and take it on, experience is the best way to learn, especially if he is cute.
8. Find the study technique that works best for you and stick with it
You can spend hours studying with others and still not get as much done as if you had studied the way that works for you. An example of this is how reading and highlighting is a good way for some people to study, but flash cards works much better for others (including me), so some people could memorize more information making flashcards for an hour than they could in four hours of reading and highlighting information, and vice versa.
9. Stop making excuses
This goes for everything. Don’t make excuses on why you didn’t do well on a test, why you can’t go to an event, or why you spent all night watching Netflix instead of sleeping. Sometimes you just decide to have the cake instead of fruit and you shouldn’t have to constantly justify yourself. Also, if you are unhappy about something in your life, making a change is going to be a lot more beneficial than making an excuse.
PS. Your teachers won't care why you were late for class, so just don't do it
10. Caffeine is your best friend
College is the first time that I have truly come to understand what exhaustion feels like. Caffeine has gotten me through numerous late nights, classes, and lectures. Now that you’re on a college budget, remember that you can save your Starbuck’s cup and refills are only 50 cents.
11. Connections are everything
Meet people, start conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions, because knowledge is power, and forming relationships and connections with people can only help you in the future.
12. Have fun
Seriously, being happy is truly what life is all about. If you don’t like your major, change it. If you absolutely hate your school, switch. Everyone is different and everyone has different needs, college is your time to find yourself and to explore opportunity so make sure you make the most of it and have a fun ride.