My first year in college did not go as planned. At all. Especially with a whole pandemic occurring during our second semester and all of our classes being switched to online. I did not make the grades I wanted and I did not necessarily have a great time, but I've learned a lot and I'm going to come back twice as better and determined next semester. Here are the lessons I learned the hard way throughout my first year of college.
Just don't. It's better to work consistently all day than to have to pull two back-to-back all-nighters right before a test.
Start projects as early as possible.
Right after you're assigned a project, at least go over the instructions so you have an idea of what needs to be done. Then just keep thinking about and do little things here and there. Before you know it, the project will be nearly completed by the time it's due and you won't have to stress over getting it done last minute the day before it's due.
Read notes ahead of class, if possible.
It's always great to be one step ahead, but in college it really helps a ton. Having a vague, general idea of what you'll be learning next in class will make the material easier to understand.
Cramming for finals is not a good idea.
Don't leave all of your material to learn last minute. It doesn't work. I know this from experience. After you fail a test or two you learn your lesson.
Reach out for help when you need it.
I was stubborn. I wouldn't ask for help because I was too proud. Sorry, but in college you're going to have to swallow that pride and accept the fact that you're going to have some trouble with a few classes and concepts. That's perfectly ok though because everyone does. Seek out tutoring or counseling. Running through a unit or concept with someone who's already been through it really helps you grasp it.
Make sure you know where you want to take your degree.
Have a plan for once you graduate to work towards. Looking ahead will motivate you to do your best.
Study with people.
Studying alone is pretty hard especially when you're used to learning in a small classroom of 20-ish students in high school and helping each other because you were all close. Make friends in your classes. Talk to people. Form a study group. Make sure you've got someone to study the material with because just bouncing ideas off one another really helps you understand what you're learning.
Get some sleep.
All-nighters are no fun. Trust me. You may think you'll be able to handle it. You can't. You'll be falling asleep throughout the day and you won't be able to comprehend any of the material that is reviewed in class. You'll end up a day behind in work.
Do not skip meals.
Always eat. I don't care if you have a test in 25 minutes, you better eat. If you don't, the same thing that happens with lack of sleep will occur. You'll be unable to focus and you might get headaches. Drink water too. Just take care of yourself overall.
Take time to do something fun.
Make sure you have a fun, social activity to do every week. Not just binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. You need to socially interact whether you like it or not. If you avoid all social interaction, chances are you won't be mentally healthy and it might be harder to find the motivation to do your work. That's what happened to me during the Covid-19 pandemic and I got super behind in work and ended up on the verge of failing some classes.