College is hands down one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wracking times of your life. For most, this is your first big move away from your parents and when you get to start deciding what you want to do and when you want to do it. I remember the first time I stayed out late when I was in college. I started tiptoeing back into the building but then quickly realized no one cared what time I was coming back or where I went. It was liberating and frightening. At that moment, I realized that college was going to rock my world whether be for better or for worse, and I needed to make sure I took charge. So here are some tips on how to make it through college successfully.
1. Try not to go home as often
I know it is so tempting in the beginning to go home every weekend because you miss your family. But trust me this will not help in the long run. This is the beginning of being on your own and you have to rip the Band-Aid off at some point. Luckily, if you do it right, you will have a roommate and new friends that are going through the same thing there to help you transition. Just remember, every time you go home, you are missing a memory that could be made at college.
2. Join an organization
Joining an organization could be the best thing you do. Not only will this keep you too busy to go home, but it will also provide the opportunity to make life-long friends. My freshmen year, I joined the leadership team and over that Easter weekend, everyone was going home, but I was unable to because I lived 10 hours away from school. I had three different offers from members of the team ask me if I wanted to go home with them. It is moments like these that joining an organization can help you create a second family and support system.
Something I will add though is not to join TOO many organizations at once. This can lead to burn out very quickly and ruin your time at college. Pick and choose what works well with your school schedule and what you would be most passionate to work with. A perfect rule of thumb that I was taught my freshmen year is to choose only one organization your first year, and then after that, you can pick up more if you like.
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3. Take charge of your financial aid
While you should also take advantage of your financial aid office at your school, remember that ultimately you are the one in charge of your financials. For some, the only way to afford to go to school is through student loans. This can sound quite daunting, but thankfully, I was recently given the opportunity to partner with College Ave Student Loans and see how easy it is to apply and obtain undergraduate and graduate student loans. “College Ave Student Loans is simplifying the student loan experience so students can get on with what matters most: preparing for a bright future” (College Ave). With their easily accessible website, it makes applying for loans seem like a breeze. Seeing as how I am in graduate school and have already finished a year, I thought College Ave wouldn’t apply to me. However, I would still be able to receive funding for school in my last year. College Ave customizes each loan to your need through their configuration tool which literally lets you plug in your information and select the best loan for you. They provide you with the tools to keep you in charge of financing your own education.
4. Time Management
This phrase is the most annoying thing to hear yet also the most important. I can almost guarantee that you will hear “time management” at least 10,000 times throughout your college career. However, it needs to be said that many times because it is so important. The worst thing that can happen is burnout. Make sure you keep a to-do list, calendar, or use that fancy smartphone to plan out your day and ensure that things don’t overlap. Hell, be sure to even schedule a nap in there or “me” time because you are going to need it.
5. Make friends besides your roommate
Being friends with your roommate is perfect, and I highly suggest you try and do that. However, I also suggest you make friends outside of your roommate. Spending too much time together can lead to many arguments and burnout of each other. Try to mix things up and maybe spend time with your friend’s downstairs or go out to eat with people from your organization. Just trust me, you should make friends outside of your roommate.
6. Explore the town
While most colleges do their best to keep their students entertained on campus, go and explore the town that your college is located in. This place will be your home for four years, and you should want to make the best of it. Get involved or attend things that are happening in the town. Fully immersing yourself in the college experience doesn’t have to mean only doing things on campus. Go! Explore your town!
7. Become best friends with the tutoring center
This can be very important and beneficial to help keep you on top of your school work. Do not be ashamed to seek out help with your work. This only makes you a better student for using all of your resources to produce great work. Try and make an outstanding appointment each week with a tutor to help you keep your work in order. Most college campuses provide free tutoring services so take full advantage of that.
8. Make the memories
Grades are important in college, especially if you are trying to go to graduate school, but try to take in the full experience. College only happens once. This is the time to stay out until 2 in the morning with your friends, order another beer (if you are of age), go to the lake on a Wednesday afternoon and just do all the crazy stuff that comes your way (within reason). College will be some of the best four years of your life if you do it right
Resources: College Ave Student Loans
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.