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I’m leaving home for college in August, and am worried about making friends, fitting in, doing well in school, and surviving on my own. What should I focus on and prioritize?

I want to start college on the right foot. #college-advice #college-bound

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Joe’s Answer

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I approached college with my nose to the grindstone. I had achieved a 4.0 GPA in high school and wanted to keep doing just as well. College is very different, however and I didn't have the same success. But here is what I discovered.


It is easy to forget to have a social life. You don't need to go crazy being a social butterfly or partying, but you do need some healthy interaction to keep you in balance. If you don't you can easily bury yourself in studies and miss out on being human. Let there be a balance.

Joe recommends the following next steps:

Invoke the "LITS" condition: Life Is Too Short. Some things will seem overwhelming at times, and some things you find yourself stuck on and can't seem to get past might be things you tell yourself LITS, and move on. If there's a class that isn't essential to your degree but is kicking your tail... might need to let that class go.
Figure out what makes you tick as a student. Go with gusto for the things you find you do well. If you have to work to cover the cost of your education, you'll still be alright, and the work time will help you breathe and not feel like being a student is all you are.
Figure out what your ideal study style is. Do you do well in groups, or are they too distracting for you to get your work done? Do you need background noise, or do you need the quietness of a library? Can you tolerate roommates always being around, or do you need your own space? Does it work to study in between classes, or is it better for you to be more intensive in overnight homework sessions alone? Some of this will be easier once you're there, but do keep in mind that you'll need to find what works for you and be intentional.
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Sam’s Answer

Hello Emma,


You should focus on your school work. Doing well in your classes should be your #1 priority. Don't worry about making friends and fitting in. College is very liberal and accepting, at least that was my experience. You will make friends naturally, especially when you finish your general classes and are only taking classes in your major. Hopefully you will be getting your own apartment or a private room on campus. Having your own place will make it much easier to study because room mates can be a big distraction.


Sam

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Emma,


College is a tremendous opportunity to meet new people and try new things. With that said, the number of opportunities to do so is pretty overwhelming. I think a big part of finding a good balance between making time for your social life while also excelling in your schoolwork is to get into a good routine. Get the amount of sleep you need each night, make time to eat healthy meals, and build time in your schedule for homework and studying. Pursue extracurricular activities that interest you. Doing so is naturally going to introduce you to people with similar interests and values.


Focusing all of your attention on either schoolwork or your social life will leave you unhappy - you'll either be miserable since you spend all of your time studying or you'll be disappointed in your academic performance. Keep in mind that you are there for an education but you will never have a social opportunity like college again in your life. Those are the only four years where you are surrounded by thousands of people who are within a few years of your age and all trying to earn degrees. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Get involved. There will be some ups and downs during your four years of school but always have the courage to try again after the tough days.

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

Before you head off to school, I highly recommend reading "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. I think it personifies the attitude you should take into your college tenure perfectly.
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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.

Treat school like a job. Get up early, get to work and when your work is done at the end of the day, you can spend time on social life or organizations.
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Rachel’s Answer

Be patient. You will make friends, but it will take time. From the beginning of school, go to class every day and study every day. No matter how much fun you may be having in college, it will not be enjoyable to fail classes or go on academic probation.
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