I don't know if you've chosen a college yet or not, but if so, I'd suggest you ask their admissions office if there are some students whom you could speak with about their experiences. Oftentimes, college have "Get Acquainted Day" or open houses where you can learn more about what you need specifically. There are several things that mark college life as different from high school. For one thing, your classes meet a lot less oftens--sometimes three times at 50 minutes per period, sometimes twice for 75 minutes and sometimes only once a week for a couple of hours. Therefore, the expectation is that you spend MORE time outside of the classroom studying, reading, writing, doing research, etc. At the same time, often students are away from home for the first time and living a lot more independently. Therefore, time management is crucial. The first day of classes your professors give you a syllabus that tells you all your assignments, tests, papers, etc. up front. When you get your syllabi (plural of syllabus), you can put write these assignments down to be prepared for them. When planning your classes, you need to make sure you leave time for meals and that you pay attention to getting enough sleep. If you want to succeed in college, you have to take care of your body (physical needs) as well as your emotional/spiritual needs, allowing for time to work and time to play.
Because for some it's the first time away from home, it can be tempting to get sucked into partying, sex, drugs, etc., but in college-as in the rest of life--a balance is necessary to have a successful experience. In some ways, it is good to think of college as a job---it's an opportunity, it's fun, it's a learning experience, but it's also your job--and with jobs come responsibilities. Your "boss" is YOU--you are your own CEO of your life--and if you have healthy expectations of yourself as an employee, you will know to be kind and firm.
I hope this helps you, and I'm happy to give more advice, if you need it---more specifics, that is.
Susan recommends the following next steps:
- Find out if there are current students you can talk to.
- Practice time management---make lists, set yourself achievable goals and then achieve them. Each of these steps will help you in your college career.
- Ask for help if you need it. This is super important in college. People who disappear or feel too ashamed or depressed about their own performance tend to leave school or not do well. Knowing when you need help and asking for it is KEY.
- Once you're in college--or even before--search for resources that help you think about time management and self-care.