Hi Jolene! I answered another student's similar question the other day, so thought I'd share what I told him with you. I hope this helps!
The most important things to focus on to best adjust to college are your time management, quick decision making through trial and error, thinking/planning ahead, and taking advantage of the resources your school has to offer.
Time management in college.
As you can imagine your course work and load will be very different from what it was in high school, so one of the first things you should do is give yourself a crash course in time management. Figure out what works best for you because everyone is different. A couple ideas to get you started: Seek inspiration from busy people who you know are really good at effectively managing their time and find a couple accredited podcasts and articles about the subject. I love Hidden Brain, an NPR podcast, that has tons of thought provoking episodes, a few relevant to time management. Listen to this one: https://www.npr.org/2017/07/25/539092670/you-2-0-the-value-of-deep-work-in-an-age-of-distraction.
Be able to make decisions quickly.
College will throw a ton at you emotionally and intellectually and there are bound to be bumps in the road along the way. You should know how to make tough decisions with confidence rather than spending (and potentially wasting!) a bunch of time hung up, in limbo, or investing in the wrong thing. To make a long story short, I was on the Public Relations track up until the end of my junior year. I had completed 95% of the required coursework. When I decided to study abroad in Italy the first part of my senior year I was told that the last couple pre requisite courses I had to take to get my degree in PR were only offered while I was gone. I had to make a tough decision pretty quickly: either go study abroad and change my major focus last minute (to something I was less excited about) or not study abroad and take the required PR courses to be able to graduate on time with the degree I wanted. I only had a few days to decide before the study abroad deadline. I was so torn! I ended up deciding to study abroad and change my major to news editorial which offered the classes I'd need to graduate later in the year. That experience taught me a lot. I was able to weigh out the pros and cons, speak to a few mentors, and think strategically about my future in order to make an important decision that ended up being the right one.
I promise you that four years will go by SO fast. Before you know it it will be over and you'll be expected to find a full time job. While planning ahead for your future aspirations is paramount, you can start building that muscle with smaller things like tests and meetings. Goes without saying but staying organized and being proactive are going to be key here.
Take advantage of all the resources your school has to offer.
Looking back, there are so many things I wish I would have done more of because I realize now the importance and implications getting more involved has on your future success. There are countless seminars, clubs, jobs, internships, and activities going on every single day on your campus. Go sign up and participate in everything you can towards the beginning of your education so that you can spend the rest of your years really committing to those activities you really enjoy (+ are relevant to your career aspirations!).
Bonus: Learn how to communicate effectively. There's little that's more important in your adult life to master. Read a bunch, seek out opportunities to meet new people and spend time discussing important issues with your network.
Let me know if you have any follow up questions! YOU GOT THIS!
Thanks for your help keeping CareerVillage safe!
CT Licensed Secondary Educator
You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <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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Los Angeles, California
Hi Jolene, Outside of the tips for academic success, I think one of the best things you can do in college is to meet as many different types of people are possible. This is an opportunity to learn from others and create friendships that will possibility last for a lifetime. In addition, to that I recommend joining clubs and organizations that interest you. These are great opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills, and begin to develop your leadership skills. Lastly, try new things. For example, take an art class or visit some of the local attractions near your school with friends. Good luck and enjoy your time in college!