How to not make college harder than it already is.

The Slippery Slope In College

Balancing school and friends can be hard, and with the wrong decisions it is so easy to really fall behind.

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Now that syllabus week has passed, your professors are ready to make it rain… in assignments. And due dates. And discussion boards. The struggle is now very real. As a college student, you have a huge responsibility. You are out here on your own, navigating the boundaries of a term called "time management."

Have you heard of it? It can do you wonders. As you sink deeper into the semester it is so essential to figure out your balance of school, work, friends, and all other involvements by yourself.

As the semester drags on, you will find yourself deciding if a class is more important than sleeping a few more hours because of that hungover or it's raining. Or seeing that an assignment worth fewer points won't totally bring your grade down, so you just don't do it because what is the harm in losing x amount of points?

Or maybe if you should skip your night class because all your friends are hitting happy hour. You know someone in class so if you miss something they can fill you in, right?

These situations make it so easy for a student to decide that school can go to the back burner. If you find yourself making these choices, I hope your conscious sends out a red flag, because it is a very slippery slope. You miss one class and face no consequences, so you think why not miss a few more?

Until eventually, you are only showing up on test/quiz days, averaging a C+, and realizing you'll need 130% on the next test to pull it back together. Yet, the FOMO (fear of missing out) always seems to override the fear of going down a letter grade.

As a student who personally experienced the downfall of failing to manage school, I am here to tell you to get over yourself. You think you can make it all work out by the end of the semester and you can't. You think you have the power to pick and choose what you want to complete and still pass, and you don't.

You WILL NOT succeed if you make the decisions that your social life and sleep schedule trump coursework. I put school on the back burner and it ended up adding an extra year to the whole college process.

It took me a while to realize that all I needed was a little more organization and a lot more self-discipline. Being mature enough to say, "Sorry friends, I can't join you tonight I need to get this done."

Being smart enough to think ahead and see that if you finish this now then later you can have more time for that. Actually showing up to class even when it's raining because it's just a ridiculously idiotic an excuse for missing.

Stop rationalizing with yourself that you just need a C or better. Stop waiting until 11:00 p.m. Sunday night to work on your assignment due at midnight. Stop telling yourself 10 points doesn't really matter. Stop deciding a party is better than going to night class. Get a calendar and fill in long-term due dates for the entire semester.

Get a planner and make sure each week you have mapped out when and where you will be and what will be getting done. Get a whiteboard and fill it up with reminders.

If getting yourself organized with school stresses you out majorly, good. It damn well should and it shows your passion. Addressing that stress head on and making use of planning and time management from the very get-go is the key to getting and keeping your s**** together for the semester.

If you've read through this and you're thinking "This girl must just suck. I can still do what I want and be successful." Maybe you're right. But just in case you aren't as invincible as you feel, here are some tips for being successful in school and maintaining a social life:

Can't give up the late night partying? Fine. Then don't schedule any morning classes that you know you won't go to.

Don't want to give up going to happy hour or college night specials? Okay, then don't sign up for a night class.

Can't keep track of online classes and assignments? Well, common sense would say only sign up for seated courses then.

Keep forgetting about little assignments? USE A PLANNER. Every Sunday map out your week. Plan ahead. Have a visual reminder of what you still need to be done.

Be straightforward with your professors. Stop sending them bullcrap lies and excuses about why you weren't in class and own up to your mistakes. You don't have to tell them you skipped class because you wanted to sleep, but you can apologize for being absent and ask for missed notes. Show them you can be a little responsible.

When it reaches the end of the semester and you're desperately emailing your professor to round up just a measly 0.02 points, they're going to think back to how you've acted throughout their course. Trust me when I say if you've sent them any type of nonsense excuse throughout the semester, you won't be getting any benefit of the doubt.

College is an amazing experience, but don't ruin it for yourself. You are not invincible, just like everyone else your s*** can hit the fan too. You are not a genius, despite what your parents or high school teachers made you think. Most importantly, you are not missed by a party you didn't get to go to. Sorry not sorry, it is the truth. Do your work. Go to class. Participate in discussions. Study for the test. Don't cost yourself a couple extra thousand dollars in student loans just because you want to have a good time.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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