With high school quickly approaching its end, numerous students are either looking forward to their future ventures or reminiscing on their high school years and hoping the end would not come so soon. Whatever the case, over eighty percent of our Jersey City seniors have graduated or soon will be. These students are headed to our own colleges such as New Jersey City University, Rutgers University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
College can be one of the best experiences of our lives, or one of the worst, depending on how you approach it. Often, freshmen enter college blindly with no knowledge of what to expect or without the proper prior preparation. To make the transition a whole lot smoother, I have asked actual college graduates and current students about their tips on both how to prepare for college and how to make it the best years of your life!
Learn how to perform basic chores.
When entering college without the supervision of parents or guardians, freshmen may often feel that they are lost. This may be due to not knowing how to do one’s own laundry, or cooking, or proper cleaning techniques. In any case, it is necessary to learn these necessary activities before entering college so that it does not take away from the experience of being a college student. With all the work and excitement, it may be frustrating to suddenly realize you do not know how to do your laundry or cook when you are hungry in the middle of the night.
Build a budget.
Shopping wisely is a huge bonus for your wallet during college. There are many fees one has to pay including tuition, books, meal plans, room and board, needed electronics, and other necessities. Thus, it is vital to build a budget for whatever money you have available to you each month or year. This not only takes care of your fees, but allows extra spending money and some for saving. This also allows you to not go over the amount of money you have available and be in debt somewhere along the line. On the topic of money, one good tip is to consider taking subsidized loans over unsubsidized ones because the interest will not stack.
Choose your classes wisely.
We all have different sleep schedules and times when we function best. Some students may be night-owls while others may be early-risers. When registering for classes, it is important to find times that best suit your schedule. In my case, because I am a night-owl, I chose to take classes after eight in the morning and before four in the afternoon which leaves the rest of my evening free for homework, recreation, or just sleep.
Take advantage over the perks of being a student.
Being a student has numerous advantages (not to mention, discounts at Subway and Chick-fil-a). By flashing your student ID card at places such as the movie theater, clothing stores such as Charlotte Russe, or select fast foods, you can obtain discounts on your purchases which are often beneficial to full-time students. These perks also include lowered prices on insurance, phone plans, cable plans, Amazon Prime, and even certain electronics!
Befriend an upperclassman.
College can be a particularly confusing place for new students. By forming a friendship with someone who has been there longer, you have not only made a friend but a mentor. He/she will be able to give you advice, assistance, and special tips you can only get from a student!
Join clubs and organizations.
Being active on campus is one of the best ways to form connections, relationships, and network with other individuals. There are hundreds of organizations on every campus and even if you cannot find one to suit your interests, there is a process in which you can form your own organization! Some of the top organizations on campus to join include sports, sororities or fraternities, and academic clubs.
Always stay ahead of your class.
Most professors will give you a syllabus beforehand with all the coursework for the semester. You should try and take advantage of this because remember, college is essentially a competition between students. By staying ahead of your class, you will not only get good grades, but you can afford to miss certain sessions when there are other events you would rather attend.
Make an effort to know your advisor.
When students are assigned an academic advisor, this is done based on the major they are intending. This person will be in charge of your scheduling and guiding you into the career field you choose. Therefore, your advisor is one of your key resources while planning your future.
Set time for yourself.
Through all the work and events, one may not have time to properly care for oneself. The Freshman 15 is a very real myth and to prevent this, you should regularly visit the gym, maintain a healthy diet, only use energy drinks or caffeine when absolutely necessary, and get a minimum of five hours of sleep every day. Self-care is something you should not take lightly.
Campus is your new home.
Freshmen entering college are often overwhelmed by feelings of homesickness due to the new environment and independent lifestyle. By spending most of your time on campus, this can be conquered. This also ties in with being involved because with your time consumed by fun activities, you will not have spare time to feel homesick.
Work on your time management.
It can be difficult to find the appropriate balance between school, events, family, friends, and yourself. Some may seem more appealing to you than the other which increases the likelihood of spending more time with them. However, creating a schedule allows you to avoid this and spend just the right amount of time with each group or activity. With this in mind, one might consider Google Calendars as an excellent resource for time management.
Do not be dissuaded by failure.
High school is an easier experience for students as compared with college. With larger class sizes and more competition into the work industry, one-on-one instructor time is no longer the reality. Therefore, it is up to yourself to pass the class. Most students fail at least one class during their time in college and it is not a big deal. To better prepare yourself, you should maintain better studying habits including group study sessions, or voice recording your lectures to make it easier for note taking. Either way, better study habits is a must.
Keeping these tips in mind as you enter college guarantees success and an enjoyable experience. Congratulations to our graduating class of 2019!