If you're a bit of a control freak like me, you have looked at thousands of online articles and lists that will somehow will guide you on your way to be a perfect college student. I'm going to let you in on a little secret..... None of them are perfect. There is no magical list that you will find that can help you on your quest to become the perfect college student. However some of as strive for perfection, and I completely understand that. After my first year, I've found narrowed it down to five things that are essential when starting college.
1. A Planner
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I know what you're thinking. "A planner? Isn't that obvious?"
Actually no. All those years in grade school, they have been preparing for us to go to college, and forcing us to have those planners was actually a good thing. Imputing due dates, special lectures, or club/chapter meetings into your planner as soon as you get them will actually help you balance all your priorities in life. Whether they're academic, social, or work related, it's best to put them all in as a visual reference. It can keep you from overloading yourself with too many commitments and allows you to prioritize.
2. GroupMe and Venmo
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When I entered college, I had no idea what GroupMe and Venmo were, or how to use them. Both are recommended apps to help you get through college. Highly. Recommended. Venmo is an essential for broke college kids without cash on them. It's easy to pay your friends back, split a pizza, or even just look at all the cool things your friends are doing. But I can guarantee you will use GroupMe at some point. Whether it's to communicate with your assigned partners, ask preceptors difficult homework questions, keep in touch with all your sorority sisters, or slide into your cute classmate's DMs. It is a messaging app that will make life much easier from here on out.
3. A Computer
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I feel like this one is a given as well, but the more I think about it, going on to campus and seeing every one with their laptops was kind of a culture shock from high school. Some professors might not allow computers, but they can be used to keep lecture notes. I often find that OneNote is easier, and more environmentally friendly than a million notebooks. So many universities run with assignments entirely online. Going through college in this age of technology is certainly a lot easier.
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It's important to note that if you're not living on campus, college can be pretty lonely. It's also important to note that living on campus, college forces you to make friends. College is extremely social, and that social atmosphere pushes you to learn in so many different ways. Friends will introduce you to new interests, friends, and places. This journey isn't always easy, but when has making friends ever been completely flawless?
5. An Open Mind
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College will challenge your mental health, and it's best to go in with an open mind. Trust me, nothing is scarier than going into college than having told yourself all summer that it would be scary. College is a prime opportunity to grow in all walks of life, and is preparing you for the reality that is the real world. College is the real time to learn, so make the most of it.
No matter which semester, year, phase, or day of college you are going to. No matter if you're 18, or 48. College is a time where you're figuring out not only yourself, but your passions out. Why else would you be spending all that money? Make the most of your experience, and understand that no list is going to make you a perfect student. While I certainly hope that these suggestions help, the only person who knows what works best for you is you. So get out there and do your best!