Advice for College Students
College is a liberating experience for many, however, it can be challenging to navigate your way through it. Here's some advice that's sure to help guide you.
Take this moment in your life to come out of your comfort zone and try new things. Participate in your college's social events. If you have the funds, try the option of studying abroad. Take an adventure around your college's town. Take this time to discover your interests and yourself.
Don't Be "Average"
Always try to exceed your expectations. You can't expect to grow if you settle for less. One of the mottos that I had throughout college was, "what you give, is what you receive." Meaning that if I only put in little to no effort into myself, work-ethic, relationships, etc, then you'll only receive poor results.
Get to know the faculty members. Whether it's an academic advisor or instructor, try to build connections. Attend career fairs and "advertise" yourself to different companies. This could lead up to recommendations or new opportunities.
Check out RateMyProfessor to see if the professor you select is right for you. You wouldn't want to select a professor who has a teaching technique that conflicts too much with your learning style.
Have open communication with your academic advisor. They are there to help guide you on the right path and provide you valuable resources. Make sure to take notes and follow-up on meetings.
Take Advantage & Be Involved
Don't pay 20K+ a year to just attend class and crawl back into your dorm. Take advantage of your college resources to better improve yourself. If you find yourself not doing well in a subject, don't hesitate to use your college's tutor services or ask your professor for additional help.
Take the initiative to involve yourself in work studies or academic research. Take up a leadership position in clubs you're attending.
Don't waste your summer breaks
During the summer, take the opportunity to find an internship related to your major. Don't forget to apply for scholarships. Take the time to build up your skills, by working on side projects. Plan a relaxing vacation. Volunteer within your community.
Breathe & Balance
College life can be stressful, so take it easy on yourself. Don't forget to work on your physical and mental health. While in college, learn to balance your life and don't overwork yourself.
Never give into peer pressure. It's ok to say no to things you're not comfortable yet. Trust your instincts if you feel something isn't right. If your "friends" or "partner" diminishes your values or constantly berates you on your decisions, then they aren't worthy of your time or energy.
Don't splurge on your first paycheck or financial aid refund. Learn to be more understanding of your finances. Always prioritize your debts and budget your expenses. Make sure that you keep track of where your money is going and avoid impulsive shopping. A smart decision to do with. your money is to set aside money for investments or savings.
Don't purchase textbooks at your bookstore, before starting class. Test the class out first to determine whether or not you'd need the required materials. If you do need materials, reach out to friends or former students to bargain for their textbooks. Sometimes, professors would provide a cheaper alternative to access the required materials. Compare prices with other textbook exchange services. If you decide to purchase textbooks at your bookstore, you should consider renting or e-books.
Develop Study Habits
It's not a great idea to cram for a test, it'll only stress you out. Try to set aside time in your schedule to study. I suggest taking notes on the mandatory topics before class and highlight your struggling areas. When you attend class, jot down additional information and request that your professor could explain more in-depth.
Stay Positive & Motivated
It's easy to become side-tracked while in college, especially as a freshman. Surround yourself with positive-minded people. The last thing you want to do is to involve yourself with negativity and fall on the wrong path.
If you find yourself being unstable, don't be afraid to reach out to someone you trust. In more dire situations, it's best to reach out to a respectable professional. You don't have to bear the weight alone.
It's perfectly normal for many college students to have second thoughts on their major. With additional electives, take the time to venture out in new areas. Try to gain more insight in the fields that you're interested in and apply for opportunities in relations.
Make sure you speak with your academic advisor about your situation and discuss if excess-credit surcharge would be an issue. Excess-credit hour surcharge is when you exceed the number of credits within your major. For every credit that you exceed over your major, you'll receive a surcharge.
Create a cover letter and resume
It's great to have a resume and cover letter available to you at all times. Many people struggle on trying to perfect or figure out how to write their resume/cover letter at the last minute. Even if you're not applying for a job or internship right now, it's great to have your resume/cover letter proofread at your career services.