Going to college or university is often stressful because you are going to meet new people, learn new subjects, face new problems, live on your own, and probably move to another city. There are also some main differences between high school and university that you should be aware of because some misunderstandings can lead to unpleasant mistakes. We will share with you our experience and secrets to be prepared for anything.
Choose Convenient Stationery
So, the first lesson from us – do not buy the textbooks. There are so many freshmen that buy textbooks for all their subjects. But we have some bad news for them – this huge pile will lay in a different part of their houses and they will never open them. You can talk to your friends who study at the university and they all will say that having textbooks for each subject is unreasonable and inconvenient. You do not want to be that person walking around with a giant backpack, right? We recommend you to either have a binder that has enough paper for all your classes or put notes of classes that you have on the same day into the same binder. In those binders, you can put all your notes, papers that your professor gives you, and copies of your book with essential information. This way you will have all the materials at the same place.
Attend As Many Classes As You Can
During your freshman year, you will start getting tired and thinking that no one is actually checking attendance. So, you will just feel the power to miss some of them. But when you are skipping classes on some days, there can be a quiz, a test, useful information, or something so important that you cannot do on a different day. So, of course, it would have a bad influence on your final results. During the classes, you are hearing everything that is being talked about, and things that will pop up on exams are definitely mentioned in class, so it is so worth your time.
Make Your Professor Remember You
Basically, professors do not know you at all when you come in, and sometimes, they are never going to know you because there are really big lecture classes. But if you want to make your life easier and guarantee that you are getting better grades, sit in the first couple rows or somewhere where you can directly see the professor. Then he/she can recognize your face because that way the professor will start seeing that you are answering questions, raising your hand a lot, and paying attention not to your phone. In their mind, they will see you as a perfect student, and this is actually a psychological trick. They understand that you are someone who tries hard, and even if you start having some problems towards the end of the semester, they will somehow end up helping you with your grade.
You Do Not Have to Do All the Readings
We know that sometimes, the beginning of semester freaks everybody out with the professors’ phrases like “Yeah, you have to read three hundred chapters this week, and in the next week, it is like another three hundred”. Sometimes, they are kind of crazy but you should just communicate with a professor and ask which books he/she considers the most important to read. After some time, you will see what stuff actually matters, and after the first exam, you will actually understand what you should do.
Get to Class on Time
This just shows that you respect your professor. In addition, you will not miss any important information they mention during classes. In general, you will feel less stressed than if you were running to the university and forgetting to take many important things. By the way, being in time is a good skill for your future career. And you should know that some professors just hate people that come in late, and so do some of the people in the class.
It Is Normal Not to Know Who You Want to Be
When we grow up, especially during the freshman year, many students do not know what they will be doing in future until the second semester of the senior year. You know what you are majoring in, but many people changed their majors, and you can do that too whenever you want. Most of the people who graduate do not end up working in the major that they studied. But there is a useful thing you can do while studying for your future career – make friends but, more importantly, keep them.
Living in the dormitory is a great experience but it is not essential. Use earphones less in order to communicate with people more and be really focused on everything. Plan your classes around traffic and your personal type of schedule. For example, there are students who cannot do “am” classes. There is absolutely no way they can wake up, they just snooze and skip it. Maybe, you are one of them. So, just know yourself and make your life easier. Another tip – you can find studying atmosphere in the library or some cafeteria, wherever it is quite enough to study instead of your room with your dormmates who do not let you concentrate.
Try to Build Useful Relationships for the Future
The first thing we recommend you to do is to create a LinkedIn account, and every time you finish a semester, add your professors there. Some of them actually offer to add you on LinkedIn and promise you to help to find a job or whatever in the future. That is great because there is no doubt you will forget at least half of the professors that you have. Also, you should try to start building your network early – you are making a lot of friends in college, but also think in the long-run. You have all these professors who have done incredible things in their life, some more than others. But realize that these people are in the real business world and they are on your side. If you are on good terms with them and you feel like they could help you in the future, just ask if you can add them on LinkedIn or have their email. Keep in touch with them because they are your connection to have people that will be able to write recommendation letters for you and just someone who is on your side, and especially who will be a mentor that can help you in your career path. It is hard to do it in the future, wherever you will be working because people there do not necessarily know you, but having a professor is really valuable.
Participating in class and talking to your professor, you want to have a familiar face, but you also want to show that you are paying attention. Participating forces you out of your comfort zone and prepares you because later you will definitely have professors who are going to take participation as an important factor for your grade, so you have to participate at least a certain amount of times per class. We know that it is stressful and intimidating. That is why you should practice participating early on.
Try to Do Your Best During Freshman Year
Seriously, put the work in freshman year. You have early easy classes, and you need to get good grades in them because that is what can save you later. You should go to the library and study for like whole days, put all the effort in freshman year, and then you can walk away not trying so hard during your sophomore or junior year. Mentally prepare yourself that you do want to get the work done. Do not get this wrong impression: “Oh my God, I have all this freedom to do whatever I want, I can go out this weekend.” Make sure your work gets done because if you get good grades in a freshman year, that is really going to help you when you are taking much harder classes for your major. Sometimes, no one can get good grades in them because there are professors out there that just do not like to give A.
You Will Be OK
We also want you to remember that there are going to be days when you feel like your energy is drained, you drink so much coffee, and still have to do so much. You have studied at the library for six hours and you are just losing your mind. Those periods are usually called exam weeks. But you will be OK, as much as you are working so hard. You are also going to have times for super fun going out with your friends and doing whatever you want to do. Just realize that there is a balance in life, and that your efforts are definitely worth it.
Ask More Experienced Students for Help
It is great to have a friend-upperclassman – make sure that you have someone that can tell you what classes you should take and what are not worth it. This way you will simply expect some things to happen because it is really helpful. Professors and counselors are not going to tell you all the ins and outs, but an upperclassman can guide you in the right direction.
Use Your Studying to Improve Your Future CV
As you do your projects during freshman, sophomore, and junior years, think about things that you are going to be doing when you are interviewing for companies. For example, if you did a couple of projects during your freshman year, you can put that on your resume. So, it is really useful to note everything you learn on your resume. There are so many classes that you can even forget what you were technically learning. So, we would recommend you writing a few skills that you got from the class, certain projects, and things that you feel you are going to take with you to whatever job you end up taking in the future. For example, if you were in a computer programming class, write down what kind of things did you learn, like Oracle, some basic programming skills, C++, etc. So, later, when you are building your resume, you have that information, because otherwise, you may end up sitting there and thinking “what I even learned?”
Be Smart, Not Hard-Working
There is a lot that you could be doing. You can just drown yourself in schoolwork all the time. But it is important to look at the course as a whole by using an upperclassman friends, talking to professors, figuring out from the first exam exactly what it is necessary to get the good grade. Because in certain classes, you do not need to put that much effort to get an A, and if you know that from the start, you are not going to put too much time into that class. There are also certain classes that take so much time, and you should be able to dedicate to it more time and efforts than to other classes. It really helped me. Only this way you will not work all week 24/7 – it is not necessary.