It’s almost school time. Dorm decor is hitting the Bed, Bath, & Beyond circulars, mini fridges are being shoved onto the back of a truck in preparation of fitting its tiny structure into another tiny structure- the dorm room. I can’t pretend I know everything about college, but I have been asked multiple times for advice on what I leaned after college that I can pass along. This would mean sharing my mistakes….So here are my slip-ups I leaned from.
1) Reaching out to communicate with your professor doesn’t always mean you’re brown-nosing. Somehow I believed building a rapport with these men and women in front of the power-point slides would somehow make me resemble one of ‘those students’ who was trying to earn their “A” through buttering up with academic enhanced flattery. Other times, I just didn’t see the communication as a necessity. Now I understand the vital need to communicate to your professor, especially in your area of concentration. If you’re majoring in Business, it may be helpful to talk to your professor who teaches Business Administration about their real life experiences. They’re the ones teaching- we’re not. They may have some information we can glean from and apply to our lives.
2) Know your personal limitations. If your roommates are taking 20 plus credit hours, that doesn’t mean you should.
I wish I hadn’t looked to my left and right to see how many courses everyone else was taking. And I wish my ambition hadn’t gotten the best of me. There may be reasons you shouldn’t take as many credit hours as your roommates, or even the average student. That’s okay. Have grace for yourself. If you take on too much, your grades, social life, health, spiritual life, etc. may suffer.
3) Beware of the guy who keeps asking you for your number when you’re inwardly getting the frantically waving red flag on your internal radar. (This can also be said for the girl who keeps asking the guy for his number.) If a guy or girl gives you the heeby-jeebies, you don’t have to allow niceness to be the default which allows you to continue conversation after conversation, or to reveal personal details (where you live, your number, etc.) Even if this person doesn’t have stalker tendencies, but instead, they’re just super interested in you without you exchanging an interest, make certain they know where you stand. With kindness and respect, make it known that you are not available to them, but that they still hold value and worth.
4) Don’t overwhelm yourself with so much of the college experience that you forget what’s truly important. Social gatherings, classes, and hitting up the cafe’ for crunch time for your upcoming Anthropology exam is all important, but so were the things you had listed as priorities before going to college. What was important to you then that should not be sacrificed now? (I.e.your faith, family, a hobby, etc.)
5) Find a support team- STAT! It’s invaluable to have friends who have not only proven to be fiercely loyal, but also ones who keep you encouraged and give you wise counsel. Some people adopt the “crab mentality.” What does this mean? Picture you’re at the beach (we all like to do, that, right?) You’re collecting crabs in a bucket to sell to the local seafood eatery, but you notice one starts to crawl out the bucket, looking like it most surely will dive to its escape. But then you see the reaction he gets from his pinching family. They actually begin to drag the escapee into the bucket. How is this relevant? Don’t surround yourself with “crab” people who want to pull you down with negativity or discouragement. (Thankfully, I had a couple of great people in my support team, but I would have loved to have it expanded.)
6) Find out how you study best. I’m talking the whole gamut with this one. What time of day do you study best? Do you learn better with people or solo? Does it help to teach someone to ingrain the material further into your noggin? Are you more attuned in class during lectures or do you grasp more when you’re reading? Do you excel more at online courses or in class? It’s good to test out different methods if you’re unsure. Finding the multiple ways you study best can help save you from some potential academic struggles.
7) Not everything you learn is going to be correct information. Just because the college professor taught it or because it was in your text book that cost you a couple of Ben Franklin’s doesn’t mean it’s entirely accurate. Always fact check.
With all this said,