Starting college is simultaneously the most intimidating and exciting time of a person's life. Something I think that it's important to learn on the way to college is that it's ok to ask for help and advice from those who have been there before you. You might not quite understand what they're trying to teach you until you've been through it at least seven times yourself, but it's nice to have a heads up.
My first day of college was intimidating. I was at the art school orientation. They put us with two girls who I believe were juniors. The idea behind this experience was good. We would have gotten the opportunity to ask questions about what was coming in the next four years and get enthusiastic, yet still realistic, responses followed by a pat on the head as we headed off for a pizza lunch. Instead of that, we got two art students who were also pursuing pre-med aspirations and were stressed out, tired, and unhappy with their choices. At the end of their self-directed lecture on how hard school was going to be, they let us out late and the pizza had all been eaten.
I left, reasonably nervous about the information I had gathered. It's important to preface now that their warnings have not been my experience at all. I have spent the semester working hard, for sure, but I've been having fun and learning every step of the way. I also have not had to pull one all-nighter and I owe that partially to my brother.
I went back to my dorm panicking and I got my brother on the phone. I told him my concerns about all-nighters, homework and failing. Within minutes of listening to his advice, I was calm and ready to take on the year. Now that we've reached the end of my freshman year, I can attest to the fact that for every day on which things seemed difficult, there was something from that phone call to get me through it. Here are some of the things he told me:
1. As long as you are staying on top of your work during the day, you are never going to have to pull an all nighter.
I guarantee even if you do all your homework as soon as you have time to do it, you will still be able to find time to watch Netflix and scroll through your university meme page. You will also be less stressed doing it.
2. Make sure you're doing things for yourself.
Work out a few times a week, go to bed on time and wake up for breakfast. The healthier you stay the better you can avoid the freshman influenza and the better you can stay on top of your classes. It's easy to acquire bad habits when you leave home for the first time but you'll thank yourself later for securing good ones early on.
3. The hierarchy of what to gain from college years:
Up first is experience. Experience can mean anything from improving social skills by making friends or joining clubs, taking on leadership opportunities in activities or class, improving yourself as a student, and understanding how to be yourself most effectively in general.
Second is learning. Learning is why you're in college. Don't make excuses (which is different from a reason) if you didn't do something right, learn from the correction your teacher is trying to give you. Pay attention in class and try to absorb material, that text from your friend about lunch on Friday will be there after class.
And finally, we have grades. Sometimes it can seem like grades are the end-all-be-all. While grades are indicators of how you're progressing in classes as long as you're doing all you can to secure your experiences and learn, good grades will follow.
(And if all else fails, remember this: C's get degrees.)