Now delete the words “and parties and frat boys” from the title…
There you have it! My life. College, oh my!
I love it. I adore it. College is thoroughly wonderful. But there can be some stress involved (I’m currently running away from one of my stressors at the moment and writing about it instead 🙂 Always a smart idea). Here is a short list I have compiled that has helped me alleviate the stress of the college transition.
1.) Take easy, fun classes your first semester. The transition is going to be challenging enough without adding intense classes to the mixture. My advisor at registration was a godsend. I was all prepared to get more than a dozen credits of gen eds. out of the way until she sat me down and said, “Don’t do that to yourself. Take 15-16 credits of electives. You need electives to graduate. Don’t kill yourself your first semester.” And that is, more or less, what I did. I took a Spanish class which doubled as a fun class but also one required by my desired major. I took an International Studies class simply for fun. I took a Political Science class (I am now thinking of double majoring in poli sci and Spanish so, as it turns out, that class satisfies one of the major requirements!). And I took a Turkish language class. Thanks to my relatively stress-free schedule I have had time to go out, to sleep, to meet people. Take an easy first semester, you’ll thank yourself later.
2.) Visit your TAs during their office hours. Visiting your professors is great, it really is… but your TAs generally grade your papers and exams. Earn brownie points. Visit them. Show them you’re dedicated to learning the material. And be nice to them! After getting a not-so-fabulous grade on a midterm, I sent a friendly email to my TA asking to sit down and work through where I went wrong. He emailed me back straight away thanking me for such a polite, friendly email. Be the nice kid!
3.) Participate in discussions. Contest things your TAs say (but don’t be that obnoxious kid who argues every minute detail… please don’t… you won’t make friends that way and your TA will hate you. Sorry not sorry). If you’re like me, you’re paying a couple thousand dollars a class so you might as well make the most of it.
4.) Be ballsy. Knock on the doors of people in your dorm and say, “Hey, I’ve got tickets to the game this weekend. Wanna come?” Ask people in your class if they’d like to get together and study (keep in mind if they’re nice, friendly, open people, studying doesn’t always happen. Just a fair warning 😉 ) Because here’s the great thing: my college has 40,000 people…. if I wind up disliking a person I previously asked to hang out with… chances are, I won’t ever see them again. If you go to a small, private school… well, maybe be a bit more careful. But really, put yourself out there.
5.) SLEEP. I do not care how many credits you are taking or how much homework your professors have shoved into your lap. You need to sleep. All nighters are never the answer. Sacrifice the frat party. Sell your ticket to the football game. GO TO BED. Sleep = health = ability to function = ability to pay attention = ability to learn = good grades = happy you. Really… you need to sleep.
6.) Eat. But eat well. It’s very tempting to eat whatever you want now that Mama and Daddy aren’t standing over your shoulder making sure you have something green on your plate at every meal. Find healthy foods you like and eat those. If your college city has a farmers market… go! Support local food suppliers! But, of course, splurge every once and a while on ice cream 😉 there’s nothing wrong with that. Lord knows I do it!
7.) Find good friends. This isn’t high school. The number of friends you have does not determine your worth or popularity (I mean, it didn’t back then either, but you know…). There is no such thing as popularity in college, especially not if you attend a large school. So focus on making quality friends. As of right now, I’ve made some fun friends who I get along with well. Are they friends I will stay close with throughout the rest of college? Hm, maybe? But probably not. Thanks to college, though, I have found which of my friends are my closest and my truest. I have also made the difficult decision to cut certain people out of my life. Do that if you must! College is a time to begin anew. You can recreate yourself to a certain extent. There is no reason to be tied to negative people who will only bring you down. Let them go… let them go! They can’t hold you back anymoooooore! Let them go, let them… OK, next tip.
8.) Shower. I know this may seem like a super obvious one (at least, I hope it does!) but we all have that one kid in that one class who everyone just KNOWS doesn’t shower on the daily. Please don’t be that kid. I know that kid. I sigh internally when I am paired with that kid in class. That kid’s hair is greasy, his skin is a travesty, and he smells like onions. Please shower. Common courtesy.
9.) Don’t stress too much. My roommate stresses like no one else. She studies for hours every day. And, as of yet, she hasn’t made any friends. Don’t do that to yourself. I was talking with my cousin the other day, now employed by a prestigious computer programing firm, and he told me, “Businesses won’t hire people who got a 4.0 in college… it shows they either have no people skills because they studied all the time or that they went to a university/took classes that was/were too easy for them.” Don’t stress. I mean, stress a little. Businesses probably don’t hire people with 2.0s either. But don’t stress all the time. Have a little fun in college. These are, from what I have heard (and, a semester in to my college experience, I am inclined to believe them), the best years of your life. Don’t waste them. Like my grandpa says whenever he calls me, “Have fun and eat more.” Do that (studying a little bit, of course!) and you’ll have a nice, smooth transition into college.
10.) Finally, don’t waste your time on the opposite sex. Sure, if things fall into place, go with it! But don’t spend college searching for your “media naranja” as they say in Spanish… your other half. You’re not going to miss your future spouse because you went to the dorm study lounge instead of the library. I can’t stress this enough. You are not missing out by not having a significant other. Please don’t ever feel like you are. Everything will happen when it is supposed to happen and not a moment sooner, so don’t bother trying to force a relationship to happen. It will not happen that way. Just enjoy college. Have fun, meet people, and eventually it will all fall together. And that doesn’t just apply to relationships… it applies to college in general. It will all fall together in the end.