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What advice would have greatly benefited you going into freshman year?

What tips, study habits, and guidance would have helped you prepare for your first year? In the blink of an eye, I’ll graduate from high school and go off to a university. I am very excited to embark on this new, exciting chapter of my life. I want to equip myself with the tools and mindset that will allow me to achieve success. I know college will bring many changes. There’s more independence, yet more responsibility. Time management and studying will be of utmost importance. Furthermore, there’s a new opportunity to define myself; to become the young adult I desire to be. When I finally take that step onto the campus that will become my new home, I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. What tips, from the classroom to the social circle, do you believe would have better prepared you for college?

#college-advice #college #time-management #study-habits #studying-tips

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Grant’s Answer

I'm a senior going into my last semester, so here's what helped me in my college career.
Always meet your professors on syllabus week. It goes really far to shake their hand, tell them your name, and tell them why their class excites you. Profs love to see when students are engaged and trying their best, and I guarantee there will be at least a few times that a professor can either help you out if they like/know you.

Always go to class and take notes. You're paying thousands every year, if you skip a class you might as well be flushing 50 dollars down the toilet. School can be boring a tedious but you won't regret any of it if you make good grades and network with other people who are getting ahead.

Do some sort of academic resume builder, even if it's participation. Going the extra mile can show your professors and potential job prospects that you are putting your best foot forward and you aren't afraid of putting in some extra work.

Create study habits that allow you to have a consistent time and space, so once you get there you can get the most done in less time. Note cards and to-do lists have always been a lifesaver for me since I started making them, and I've never been a super organized person to begin with.

Network with anyone you can, and create a LinkedIn even if you don't have much on it yet. Follow some stuff that interests you, and add peers and professors, because they usually know some pretty cool ad helpful people.

Lastly, take care of yourself! It's not healthy to stay inside and talk to no one, and maintaining a good diet will carry you MUCH further than you may think. A fruit a day and a few cups of water are as good as gold, so don't ignore your body because it is the only one you get. Mental health is a really large deal as students are plunged into a new and stressful environment, so if there is anything wrong make sure to find someone that is willing to listen and support you.

I hope your college career is as fun and productive as mine has been!

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Rachel’s Answer

<span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Kendall. That is a really good question and I think your consideration of time management and studying is good starting point. I cannot think of a single thing I actually went out and did that I regret in college. Those four years provide you with an incredible number of opportunities to try new things and think in new ways. On the other hand, I can think of many things that I did not do that I do regret. Inertia is one of the hardest forces to overcome. Take advantage of the opportunity to try new things and consider opposing points of view. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, whether that is striking up a conversation with someone you don't know or trying to join a new organization. You will experience both success and failure during your college tenure - strive to learn from both. There will be many times when you will look at yourself in the mirror after a long, tough day. Always have the courage to try again tomorrow. Best of luck to you and take care.

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

Regardless of whether you are into reading, I recommend trying "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It's a quick read and I think encompasses the ideal frame of mind for your college experience.

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Kristine’s Answer

Hi Kendall,

All of the advise offered on this post has been great. I would also add for you to figure out what environment helps you study the best - is it the desk in your room, is it a room at the library, the student union, somewhere else? What helps you be the best learner. Also, remember to give yourself room to fail, especially if you are a very high performing individual. Sometimes people put way too much stress on themselves because they have gotten a B when they have always been an A student. College learning is different and you have to learn how to adapt. Stay organized and keep all of your assignment deadlines in mind and on your calendar so you can allot enough time to complete your assignments. Have fun and best wishes!

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Kristin’s Answer

BE YOURSELF! :-) My parents always told me that, but I think I tried too much to fit in, and wasted a year/1.5 yrs. trying to be someone I wasn't. I didn't do horrible my first semester in college, but I definitely could have done better, if I wasn't so concerned with trying to be someone I didn't feel comfortable with.

Also, I would recommend planning your week out, including time to do homework. I noticed when I did that I had an easier, less stressful time time trying to get in time with friends. It also helped me allot time to get laundry done, hit the computer lab (there were certain programs I needed that were on our computer lab programs for homework), and it allowed me to plan some things for me (hanging out with friends, going to the movies, or watching my favorite TV show).

The other thing most colleges tell you is to get involved. I would say your first semester, don't worry about getting involved per say, but see what is going on, get your feet wet with the whole college experience, and then in your second semester, consider your time, what you want to major in, and see what activities you can get involved in there.

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Diane’s Answer

One observation is that Freshman tend not to make the most of this first year of college. They seem to believe that it is all about partying and socializing. The next thing they know, it's time to declare a major and they are scrambling for some direction. Some advice that I have given in the past has proved helpful for some college students - take advantage of your advisors! They are there for a reason. Get to know them and talk through what you hope to get out of your college experience. Lastly, you can still socialize and it is highly recommended - work/life balance is a forever thing - but don't let it drag down your studies or accomplishing other tasks as you enter this new and exciting phase of life! Good luck!

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Faye’s Answer

What a great question, Kendall! First, keep an open mind and be eager to learn. You will encounter many areas of thought and I'm sure you will be able to offer even more. Second, don't be afraid to ask questions. That's how we share ideas, learn from our challenging moments and become better students. Finally, during the tough days along the way, try not to beat yourself up too much. This really is an exciting time and there's some much to explore. Keep that drive and learn all you can. We'll be waiting for you!!!

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Richard’s Answer

Go to class. Plan to spend 2-3 hours studying for every hour of lecture. Attend your professor's office hours and any TA review sessions. If there is a test bank, use that as a study tool to understand what your professor wants you to focus on for the test.