College. It is one of those things that you just have to get through. It can suck at times. It can be amazing at times. No matter how you look at it, there are definitely ways to make the most out of your time there!
1. Get involved!Giphy
I cannot stress this enough! Truthfully, I absolutely hated East Carolina University when I got there. I didn't have any friends, I was shy, and I wasn't doing so hot in my classes either. But then, I got involved. I joined a few organizations on campus that peaked my interest, and instantly I became much happier at school (and I met a ton of celebrities, too!)
Not only does being involved look great on a resume, it brings you even more other opportunities in your college career. For example, I joined a committee on the Student Activities Board, and two years later, I am now the chairman of that committee! I also have several other positions on campus, and I was lucky enough to get them through all the hard work that I have put into my extracurricular activities.
You can have these opportunities too if you get involved!
2. Become friends with the classmate that sits next to you.
That girl that sits beside you in Biology? Talk to her! People generally pick a seat and stay there for the entire semester, so you're probably going to see her every other day anyway - become her friend!
Not only that, but your neighboring peers in a class can be valuable resources when you need a little help on homework, missed a day and need the notes, or need to find a good study group. The only way I got through all of my science classes was through making friends with my neighbors - and studying with them!
3. Talk to your professor (and make friends with them, too).
Your professor is your greatest resource, and the more you get to know them (and get on their good side) the better off you will be.
Professors that you have created a relationship with are great to have as they will be happy to write you a letter of recommendation for a job, graduate school, etc. They also serve as great mentors and tutors if you need help in their class, and if they really like you, they might even let you work with them doing research!
4. Live on campus.
Living on campus is generally a requirement for first year students at most universities. It's great because you're right smack dab in the middle of everything, so you get acquainted with the campus relatively quickly. You also get to have a taste of living on your own, without the hassle of a whole apartment or house.
There are definitely some downsides to living on campus, like having to worry about whether Becky from down the hall is going to throw up in the middle of the hall way again, but it's an experience that everyone has to go through, and it definitely teaches you a lot.
5. Live off campus.
Living off campus is the best because you're free! No stupid dorm rules and regulations! You can walk around your place butt naked (unless you have roommates), you can cook for yourself, play music as loud as you want to, and not have to worry about Becky from down the hall throwing up everywhere.
It also teaches you more responsibility, as you have to pay monthly rent and other bills, go grocery shopping, cook for yourself (ramen all day erryday!!) and do other things that dorm life did not allow for you to do.
6. Study, study and then study again.Giphy
If you are reading this, I'm assuming you are in college (or about to be in college) which means that you obviously need to graduate with a degree from said college. Duh. You can't get that degree without studying. TRUST ME.
I didn't start taking studying seriously until my second semester of my Sophomore year, (after I failed the same class twice.) Why did I fail stupid Biology twice, you may ask? Because I didn't study.
The main reason I didn't study was because I didn't know how to. High School never taught me any form of study skills, mostly because I just sailed through it with no problems, even barely paying attention in class. That doesn't work in college.
Figure out what works best for you, whether it be flashcards, quizlet, chapter outlines, or a combination of all three - do it. Also, read the textbook. Just do it. You don't spend $300 on the damn thing to just sell it back at the end of the semester for $5.67 to not read it at least one time.
Taking notes, reading over your notes, and completing the study guides (if you're lucky enough to get them) are also great ways to succeed in class by studying!
7. Ask questions in class, and go to office hours.
Truth be told, if you are confused about something in Chemistry, about 14 other people are also confused. Well, if it's Chemistry, the whole class is confused. Anywayyyy, ask questions in class! It is a great way for professors to remember your face, as well as notice that you are paying attention, and care about your work.
Professors are there to teach you, so they're going to be happy to answer any questions that you may have. If you don't feel comfortable raising your hand and asking a question in class, or need further clarification on a past test question or homework, go to their office hours. Visiting them in their office is another great way for a professor to get to know you, and see that you are serious about your success in their class.
8. Take advantage of the different offices on campus.
Need counseling? Most universities offer it for an affordable price (or completely free.) It is crucial that you are mentally healthy in order to succeed, and you should definitely seek help if you need it.
Need someone to review your resume? Check out your school's career center. They will typically review your resumes, or help you build one from scratch, in just an hour. They can also run mock interviews for jobs, internships, or even graduate school, and let you know what areas you need to improve on.
Need help writing a paper? Visit the writing center. Many campuses offer a writing center comprised of English majors, English professors and people that are generally passionate (and great) at writing, and they are there to help you!
Failing Chemistry? Me too. But, many schools offer a tutoring center (at East Carolina, it is referred to as the "Academic Success Center.") These tutoring services are free! Check 'em out.
Overall, there are sooooo many different offices on campus that offer different services for students - and they are there to help you!
9. Study. Abroad.
Studying abroad is such a life-changing experience, and a great way to safely travel for a relatively cheap price tag! I definitely recommend doing it if you are able to, it is by far the best college experience I have had so far.
Need more reasons to study abroad? Here are 7 reasons why you should do it!
10. Go out and party (but be responsible).
Hear me out. Going out can be dangerous at times, but if you are responsible and safe with your partying experiences, it can be a great time!
Just be mindful when drinking, especially when drinking from shared and open container alcohol (pj) - you never know what can be in it. I'm not your mom, so I'm not going to tell you to NEVER take a drink from a stranger, but don't do that.
As long as you are careful and don't go overboard, and are always around people you know and trust, going out is seriously so much fun. Just don't allow it to take away from your studies!
11. Go Greek!Giphy
Joining a Greek organization is a great way to build connections, break out of your shell and have a bunch of sisters (or brothers) that have your back! There are so many different opportunities that have come my way just because I am a part of a Greek organization.
It is seriously a second family and I am so lucky to be a part of it. If going Greek is for you, definitely do it!
12. Support your college football team (even if they're not the best).
Even if your college football team is trash (*cough, cough* like mine is,) it is still such a great experience and overall amazing time to go, hangout with your friends, and show your school spirit!
Sitting in the student section, called the "Boneyard," at East Carolina University, watching the beautiful purple haze sunsets at night games, and carrying out all of the student section traditions is honestly one of the best things about being a Pirate.
Our football team might not always win, but we will always win the tailgate ;).
The experience you have while in college is completely in your hands. Hannah Montana once said, "life's what you make it, so let's make it rock." If you make that your college mantra and take advice from the above tips, you are bound to have a great time!