My first semester of college was quite the experience, to say the least. It was full of ups and downs, but most important of all, this semester was full of many lessons learned.
1. Planners are the most helpful for keeping track of what needs to be done.
Using a planner to write down all of my important due dates and activities helped me stay accountable in college. Every time a professor would mention a due date, or I would see one online, I immediately wrote it down in my planner. My planner helped me stay organized and I always knew my responsibilities every week.
2. Taking notes in class will be worth it in the end.
Taking notes in college is SO important. One thing I found out my first semester is that some professors don't tell you to take notes, but trust me, you still should. I took notes in all of my classes this past semester and it really helped me grasp the material more and saved me on more than one assignment. For one of my classes in particular, the exams were based on the lectures during class, so when it came time to study, I had all of the material covered from each lecture. Taking notes is important but also how you take them is important as well. Try your best to be neat and write legibly. I know taking notes can be a challenge, especially when a professor goes over a lot of information in a short amount of time, but it is totally worth it.
3. Just go to class.
This may seem like a fairly obvious tip, but for some students, it's easier said than done. I found that going to class is accomplishing half the battle in college. Most of the time, the assignments are based off lectures during class, so actually attending your classes becomes pretty important. If you can just go to class, stay focused, take some notes, and participate, then you're doing okay. Going to class adds context to what you are reading in your textbooks, so it's important to go to ask questions or just further understand what you read. Also, a lot of professors have attendance policies and you can actually lose points from your overall grade (or fail!) if you miss too many classes. So, just show up to class.
4. Stay focused.
With attending college, most students feel more freedom and more grown up. That being said, some let this new found freedom go to their heads and end up making some mistakes. There are many distractions in college and it is really easy to allow yourself to get off track. So, when you begin the semester, try your best to stay focused on why you're there in the first place, which is to get an education. I found that a college student really needs to be self-motivated, mature, and confident to succeed in college. You have to be confident in who you are and your abilities to tackle every assignment you are given. It is important to have fun in college, but also keep in mind how attending college is a privilege and you shouldn't waste your time or money.
5. It's not all about the grades.
I don't mean to contradict myself with my last tip, but college really isn't just about getting good grades. Success is not only measured by your academic performance. To really succeed, you should be dedicated to your work or studies, but also make time for yourself, family, and friends. When I first started college, going to class and doing my homework was literally all I thought about. Being super dedicated to school isn't bad, but a student should be involved in other things as well. After I settled down and got more comfortable in college, I joined some clubs, made more of an effort to make friends, started to hang out with said friends more, and really just started living a little more. No one can work nonstop all of the time, everyone needs some downtime or time with friends or family. So, in college, be sure to give yourself some chill time, you deserve it.
6. Being alone isn't always bad, but having friends is good too.
I went to a college where I knew absolutely no one. Everyone was a new face to me. At first, this really freaked me out. When I first started college, I didn't make it a point to really reach out to others. If someone talked to me, I would respond, but I was a little scared to talk to people first. I quickly learned I had to stop doing this. It's hard to make friends in college. Everyone is doing their own thing and focusing on themselves, which isn't a bad thing; it's just how college is. Once I figured this out, I tried talking to more people in my classes, introducing myself, and trying to make some friends. Lucky for me, it worked and I found some awesome friends. With that being said, sometimes people are just busy, so its OK to eat alone every once and a while. It's completely fine to walk by yourself to class or not hangout with friends everyday. It's great to have friends, but it's also okay to be alone sometimes too.
I can't wait to see what second semester has in store.