Our college years are the most memorable time of our school days. Freshman year can be especially intense, but you can make it one of the best years of your life.
Your first year of college is filled with new experiences and emotions. College can be both exciting and overwhelming. However, figuring out which classes to take, studying, and making new friends and connections, can seem like too much to handle.
Many college students, especially freshmen, are either stressed or fall into depression. Some may feel pressured to get good grades, get a good job immediately after college, or experience relationship issues.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 75% of all individuals with an anxiety disorder will experience symptoms before they reach the age of 22. This is the age for college students, ranging from 18-22 years old.
Depression among college students is mainly caused by students’ “unpreparedness” for university life. Risk factors can be avoided if students are well-informed and prepared to create a productive and smooth college environment.
Here are some useful hacks to help make it easier to navigate college life.
1. Ideal Study Area
It can be the library, your dorm room, a coffee shop, or a park. You have to find your ideal spot to study and concentrate on your lessons with minimal distractions as much as possible.
Your zen study plays a major role in acing your exams. Take time every morning or after classes to just sit and go through your class notes, even without an upcoming exam.
Freshman year is extremely important to determine a student’s fate in the following years of his college life.
Professors sometimes fail students who simply didn’t achieve good attendance, regardless of the fact that they sat the examinations. Attend your classes and try not to miss any. Make a good impression on your first year of college and the rest will be easy.
3. Course Requirements & Due Dates
The professor will most likely hand out the course requirements with their respective due dates at the beginning of the semester.
Familiarize yourself with these requirements – they will serve as your guide to submitting all the requirements on time.
Meeting with your professors will allow you to ask or clarify questions on lessons you feel are difficult to understand. You can ask for his or her guidance and get some plus points for putting extra attention on his or her subject. Though this a very useful tip, it is often neglected by college students.
5. Freshmen Orientations
These may seem overrated but the perks are real. You can be acquainted with everything you need to know about the university – from facilities, student leaders, to clubs and organizations you can join. Some colleges also give away free, branded goodies that might come in handy later on.
6. Roommates and housemates
Getting to know your roommates and housemates often comes in handy. This will help you make meaningful contacts you can rely on in the future.
It’s terribly important to be organized. Keeping a diary or a planner could be a great start. Jot down your schedule and tasks for the day to make room for other extra-curricular or social gatherings. Organize your study space and your dorm room, so you can relax and study well.
8. Academic adviser
Get to know your academic adviser. He or she can guide you to get better grades.
9. Study resources
The library is a good place to start. Find time to just visit the library instead of relying on the internet. Books and articles can be good references to an essay you are writing.
Students also need to have some “me-time” and not just study, study, and study all the time. Pamper yourself, grab a book, or do some exploring on the weekend. It’s good to hit the pause button before you start another school week.
Try to achieve balance in everything you do. Too much of even a good thing, can have terrible repercussions. Remember this.
12. Campus activities
Grab the opportunity to volunteer for campus activities. This will help you gain more experiences that are useful for future employment. You will also get the chance to meet new people and make new friends.
13. Good grades
You’re in college for one reason – that is to complete your studies. Getting good grades is an achievement which can give you a great sense of pride and confidence. Bonus point, you can also make your parents proud, so always keep this as your goal every semester.
14. Getting Help
It can be tough to make decisions. Even adults have a hard time weighing things. Don’t get pressured. Keep calm and try to list the pros and cons. Consult with your parents, teachers, or peers before making a decision.
15. Campus Life
Spending time on campus can seem boring but you are also doing yourself a huge favor in the next years to come. Familiarizing yourself with the campus – where to get this and where to find that professor, will actually help you.
16. Professional help
Yes, college life can be tough. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help from a tutor or a friend if you find it difficult to cope.
This is the enemy. Never do this and you’ll find yourself worry-free over the next semesters to come.
18. Healthy Diet
Keeping your mind fit through studying is not enough if you don’t keep yourself healthy. Eat right and try to sneak in some form of exercise.
Homesickness is real and it strikes when you least expect it. It can be tough to deal with and can lead to depression. Avoid this by keeping yourself busy and in constant communication with your family and friends.
College is not about making shortcuts to everything. Students learn through experience, just like everyone else. Make mistakes and learn from them. This is how you grow as a person.
One assignment on top of another, your social life, and your chores at home – it’s all overwhelming at first. Learn to manage your time and you will be fine.
22. Take responsibility
You are now an adult and ready to take on responsibilities. Always remember you are responsible for yourself and your actions.
23. Make connections
Networking is one of the keys to a good career. Make valuable connections and it will be all worth it.
24. Career Services Office
Visit this office in the university to seek advice for your career path. By the time you enter your first year, you are most likely decided which career path to take. Seek constant advice to know how you can prepare for your dream career.
Financial discipline is something you can learn early on. Try to practice saving money and managing your expenses.
Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the passport to the future. The future belongs to those who prepare for it.” Education is one thing; learning is another. Make the most of the opportunity to do both!
About the Author
Farid Gasim is Founder of Edarabia.com and has extensive experience in serving the Middle East education industry. As an integral part of media agency, Grafdom, Farid has developed marketing strategies for institutions and government agencies. He is a notable speaker with over 12 years of marketing expertise and numerous public engagements at New York University, Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology and other industry events & forums.
Featured Image provided by author.