Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this is the end of my freshman college series and the beginning of a new chapter in your life. First of all, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS on getting into college. This is an incredible feat, and I hope you’re super proud of this milestone the same way I am rooting for you. And for all those who may feel a bit down because they are not going to their preferred college, chin up, my dear freshman, this might just be the best years of your life – if you choose to see it that way.
So, before I talk about anything else, my first advice to you is: BE YOURSELF. There might be pressure to change or conform to be like others, so you fit into a particular crowd or group of ‘friends.’ Don’t. Be confident within yourself and your beliefs and if you’d need to change for people to accept you, then perhaps those are not the kind of people you want to hang around anyway. Now, I don’t mean you won’t change during your stay in university. Not at all. What I’m saying is those changes should come as a result of you growing, coming in contact with new information and meeting new people but your change should not be a way to be accepted by others.
Alright, so what next? Remember that you are in SCHOOL. Yup, that means you need to learn, do assignments and be a student. If your classes are structured as discussions, make sure you read the material before class or else you might be lost in the discussions or unable to positively contribute in such classes. In some schools, participation is a percentage of your final grade so try your absolute best to participate: ask questions, answer questions, and give comments. Don’t be shy. In my opinion, this is the easiest way to secure a percentage of your final grade. Another way to be a sterling student is to please, please, please never plagiarize. This is taken as a grave offence, and you could fail a whole course because of plagiarism. Remember to cite ALL sources and don’t copy your friends’ work.
Still, on schoolwork, remember to back up all your files to cloud storage. A bulk of your assignments would require a computer to write your essays, do your programming, and perform any other tasks given. You could use Google Drive, OneDrive, or any other cloud storage to regularly back up. In addition to backing up, also protect your devices from malware. There are a ton of services to fight against these so a little research, would give you a suitable and affordable option.
Now, to a tip that I live by. Don’t ever think you would remember all the times and dates of all your meetings and classes. So, for me not to forget, whenever I have an event/class I need to attend, I pull out my phone and note it in my calendar. This also helps you to not over-commit or have clashing schedules, plus it allows you to plan your activities. Another time management tip is: NEVER PROCRASTINATE. You may have assignments due in a month, but in that month, other tasks would creep up on you plus other important events and meetings which would make you stressed out at the last minute. We don’t want that, do we? As soon as you have an assignment, note it down and break it down and start working on it bit by bit. By the time it’s due, you would be calmer, and in a much better state to review your work and turn in an excellent piece of work.
Okay, enough about schooling! Work and fun go hand in hand! Don’t sacrifice one for the sake of the other. Explore. Join clubs that pique your interests. If there isn’t anything that suits your interests, create one. Be proactive. Take advantage of opportunities because colleges usually have many exciting prospects for students. And network! Yes, go for the career fairs and networking programs but also talk to people in your class. Talk to people in your dorm. Talk to people in groups you join. Be friendly and expand your network. College is one of the best times to know people from different places and different backgrounds because of the diversity of the students. Lol, and in all this, don’t forget to exercise and be healthy because it helps stimulate your mind and trust me, you don’t want your body breaking down during your final exams! (I think I’m talking to myself now).
Lastly, leaving you with some money talk, SAVE, SAVE, BUDGET, BUDGET, spend, SAVE and SAVE. At the college I attend, there have been mega sales, and their incredibly low prices attracted me to them. This led me to look at bags of purchases in my dorm room, knowing deep down that I didn’t need 80% of the things I had just bought. If you were not going to buy it and a sale comes along, you probably still don’t need it. Transportation wise, if you’re taking a taxi, find other students who are going along the same route as you and split the cost. Splitting costs can also be used in doing your laundry. If you’re taking your clothes to the laundry, you could add your clothes to a friend’s and pay less (depending on how the laundry service works and how they charge). When you can save, please do, and you could also start investing that money you’re saving. Little by little does the trick.
So, my dear college freshman, I know you are going to have a unique college experience, and I just want to wish you the very best. Let go of your fears, be open to change, and immerse yourself in this experience. Be yourself, study hard and have fun! Till we meet later, that’s all for now.