It’s that time of the year again! Students all throughout the world are packing their bags and heading off for college. Whether it’s your first semester as an eager, ambitious young freshman full of optimism and idealistic thoughts or your last semester as a young adult struggling with bills and a newly damaged liver from nights of alcohol abuse, it’s not too late to make the most out of your college experience. You’ll soon learn that like most things in life, college will breeze by with an imperceptible rapidity and will be over in a blink of an eye. The last thing you’ll want is to be standing at your graduation ceremony with a pile of student debt wondering if the whole college thing was worth it. So to all of you lifelong learners out there, here are eight ways to ensure that you’ll make the most out of your college years and have a healthy start to a successful career.
8. Make Friends
One of the best things about going to college is the networking opportunities it presents. There’s no better way to meet new people and make new friends than going up to someone on your first day of classes and giving them a genuine and sincere compliment. “Hey that shirt looks nice” and “cool shoes you’ve got on there” might seem like awkward fillers in most situations, but they might be icebreakers to creating meaningful lifelong friendships. Putting yourself out there is hard, but what’s even tougher is looking back at your college years and realizing that you didn’t develop at least one worthwhile relationship. Friendships will also go a long way when it comes time to job hunt and your buddy already has a foot in the door of your dream company. If you create those meaningful relationships now, they’ll remember the good times you guys shared and will help introduce you to the right people. This will eventually lead to an interview and the job of your dreams.
7. Get to Know Your Professors
Your professors play a huge role in your development from a studious teen to a professional young adult. They act as the instructors, confidants and mentors of your life and are responsible for inspiring you on a daily basis. Professors are also useful contacts to have as you navigate through this difficult maze known as life. They will be your first point of reference when it comes time to getting leads to future employers. They are also quick to give letters of recommendation to students that put forth the effort in class. Establishing amiability with your professors will go a long way in creating a good foundation and support network that your future self will later thank you for.
6. Develop Good Study Habits
Studying is perhaps one of the most important things when it comes to succeeding in college. The lackadaisical effort you put back in high school simply won’t cut it now. The workloads have gotten heavier, the grading has gotten more stringent, and the never-ending pile of assignments are enough to drive even the most sane individual into a spiraling bout of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, you can control your workload by breaking down assignments that can be worked on in certain intervals. If you have a ten page paper due next week, working on one or two pages a night is much more manageable than waiting until the last minute to write all ten of those pages in a single sleep deprived night. The best students pace themselves, and college much like a marathon rewards individuals that know how to push themselves to their limits to achieve optimal results. You don’t have to be the first one at the finish line, but as long as you get there, all your hard work and efforts will be well worth it in the end.
5. Don’t Stress Eat (Avoid the Freshman 15)
The dreaded weight gain that happens to most college students in their first year at Uni can cause some seriously troublesome lifelong habits. Known as the “Freshman 15”, this extra weight gain can easily be avoided if you practice good eating habits. Getting into a routine of late-night eating and drinking will result in a considerable amount of pounds adding up to your once glorious frame. On the flip side, developing well-rounded eating habits now along with regular exercise can set you up for an active lifestyle that will result in a long healthy life. If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your classes’ workload at anytime during the semester, just know that most universities offer free on-campus counseling services for students that are currently enrolled. If you’re not in a talking kind of mood though, another stress reliever would be to go for a quick jog around your school’s track. Anything beats heading to the cafeteria for that unhealthy snack which you’ll simply regret later.
4. Seek Out Your College Counselor If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
According to a 2016 survey by the APA, over 50 percent of students reported feeling that things were hopeless and over 39 percent of students reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult for them to function in the past 12 months. Mental health problems have become more of a concern for college students than ever before. Whether it’s the skyrocketing costs of tuition, the alarming number of sexual assaults occurring to college students or the increasingly competitive job market, students today have to deal with much more than their counterparts of previous generations. In order to comply with the increased demands, many college counseling centers have expanded their staff and added 24-hour telephone support for students to call in. If you’re experiencing feelings of extreme bouts of depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to your school’s counseling center. Stress and anxiety are a natural feeling for most students going through college, but feelings of being overwhelmed or helpless should never be the case.
3. Stay Protected
College is a great time to let loose and have fun. After hitting the books all week long, you deserve to have a little leisure time during your weekends off from classes. This however doesn’t mean that you should engage in risky behavior. It’s important to stay protected not only from accidental pregnancies but from sexually transmitted diseases as well. Most college campuses provide condoms that are easily accessible to students and some schools provide them free of charge.
2. Get an Internship During College
One way to stand out from the crowd is to have internship experience prior to graduating and entering the workforce full time. According to a survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a whopping 95 percent of employers said that a candidate ‘s work experience is a factor in hiring decisions and nearly half the employers surveyed said that they wanted new-grad experience to come from internships or co-op programs.¹ Along with gaining the necessary experience that future employers will be impressed by, many internships provide students with college credit or stipends. However, keep in mind that every college and university limits the number of internships that a student can do for college credit so if you’ve already done an internship last semester, you might want to check if you’re still eligible to receive college credits for any future internship. You should contact your school’s career center for more information and advice.
1. Have Fun
College is a great place to really find out about yourself and learn about the things you’re passionate for. Whether it’s physics, nutrition science, engineering, fine arts or anything in between, college is a great place for you to focus on your major and truly hone your skills. It will play a role in how you develop as an individual and act as a stepping stone as you move toward true adulthood. Sooner or later, your first semester will be over and you’ll be wondering where all the hours went. Time really flies by in life and college is no exception to this rule. As you finish your college years, make sure you don’t forget to enjoy them and have fun!
College Students: You Simply Must Do an Internship (Better Yet: Multiple Internships)! (2017, July 25). Retrieved from https://careercenter.bauer.uh.edu/blog/2017/08/20/college-students-you-simply-must-do-an-internship-better-yet-multiple-internships/