by Susie Olubo
My first semester of college has been quite a ride for me. I’ve made many friends and learned so many new things that I never thought I would be interested in. With all these great experiences, there’s also bad ones. From the mistakes I’ve made so far, I believe it’s suitable for me to create a guide to help with anyone’s first year.
First things first: plan a budget. I don’t know about you guys, but my parents aren’t paying for jack squat. In high school, I had already started paying for some things such as my cell phone and iTunes. When you get to college, things are a whole lot different. Many of you may be getting money from your parents, and many of you are searching for a job as we speak. Whatever the situation may be, you still need to make a plan. Since starting classes in August, I have done an incredibly poor job of spending my money. Much of my earnings are used on supplies for classes, but there’s also the “little things.” For example, it’s almost Halloween. What do you think you need? A costume? Of course! That’s what you think you “need” so you go out and spend almost $50 on a sexy costume you will wear once in your life. I had already thought about getting a costume this year, but I hadn’t planned on spending so much money. Earlier in the semester, I thought about making my own costume as I am majoring in design. As the days dragged on and my procrastination grew, I realized I would have to buy one or make some sort of thrifty costume. As you can assume, I bought a costume with the acronym “Y.O.L.O” running through my head. We learn from our mistakes.
Stay away from coffee shops. Actually, stay away from any sort of fast food. Not only is it fattening, but it’s super cheap, so cheap it tempts you into buying it constantly. As for me, I’ve already run into the problem multiple times. Think about it, what else could that money have been used for? Your tuition? Cat food? Maybe even some staples for your stapler? Forget the coffee; you wouldn’t need it if you’d go to bed at a “reasonable time.”
So you may be thinking, “but what if I want to have fun with my friends? I’m in college!” Sure, go have fun with your friends, but not every night. There is such a thing as “too much fun.” Instead of going out with them, why not buddy together and make a study group. Sure, it’s not as exciting as dancing on the bar at the club three nights in a row, but it’s still time spent with your friends; and BONUS: there’s less chance of you failing that exam tomorrow! Again, I’ve already stumbled over this obstacle, but we learn from our mistakes.
Coming back to that last thought, make as many friends as you possibly can. You’re in COLLEGE! New friends help get rid of that homesickness. Okay, you miss your high school friends. I understand, I miss mine on occasion, but these people are interested in the same things as you; why else would they be going to your college? They won’t judge you for your secret obsession with Korean pop music, because they like it too! What are the chances right? The people you meet in college will be the people you talk to for the rest of your life. They know exactly what you’re going through, how to help you, where to take you, and will continue to do so forever. These people are your friends and you need to cherish them because without them, you wouldn’t be nearly as awesome as you soon will be.
Let’s talk about jobs. Find one that is related to your major, if possible. It’s good experience, and it looks good on a resume. If you can’t find one right now, get another job to help pay the bills, but don’t stop trying to find one similar to what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Procrastination is the leading cause of failed midterm grades in the U.S.
Or I would assume it is.
I have had a relapsing problem with this disease. I’ve tried every treatment possible: studying, organizing, calendars, alarms, planners, writing on my hand, nothing works. It’s best to avoid any causes of this disease, such as alcohol, parties, clubs, Twitter, shopping, texting guys/girls, dates, Skype, Facebook, etc. These are the leading causes of severe procrastination; as of now, there is no cure.
Seriously, if you can keep from procrastinating, I applaud you. It took me twenty minutes to write that sentence. From the beginning, I’ve always had a problem with it, and still do. To succeed in college you need to focus on your studies, or you’ll end up like me, writing a paper two hours before it’s due.
Read what your teacher tells you to read. It is important in the end, so don’t put it off. They will show up on tests, pop quizzes, you’ll be asked questions over them. Read the book. It only takes less than an hour out of your time, and although it may seem irrelevant at the time, you won’t regret it when it comes to exam time.
Call your family. Not every day, but at least once a week. Twice maybe, to convince them that you’re not a soon-to-be college dropout due to excessive partying and experimenting. I haven’t been keeping in touch with my family as much as I’d like, mainly because my mother is, in a way, unreachable, but I do send my brother messages every once in a while. They’re you’re family, so remember that when you’re having troubles, you can go back home for a break and everything will be all right.
Staying on top of your studies and bills is very important in college. I’ve learned this as I go through my first semester, and coming back from these problems can be difficult. Your college experience is supposed to be fun, and meant to last more than one semester. As I explained, stay away from fast food, keep up with your studies, and have fun when you can. The next four years– maybe more depending on your degree–will be the best years of your life, and you want to make the most of them. The time and effort you put in now will make you successful for the upcoming years.