I hear people make this statement all the time. When the going gets rough they just shrug it off and move on. They rationalize their poor performance by saying that it will do.
I think that most students say this as a front to hide their disappointment to their fellow students. And I really hope that this is the case… Because as a well performing college student I will tell you from personal experience-
YOUR GRADES MEAN EVERYTHING!
One C your first semester won’t break your GPA, but you need to understand that college is an investment and a commitment. Don’t go in without motivation to do well. The classes that you take your first two years are the prerequisites to the final years of your schooling. Many majors and minors require a certain GPA to allow you to declare and take specific classes. The school wants students who are serious and are willing to work hard. One slip up early on can seriously impede your ability to get into the classes you want/need.
Skipping classes, not turning in assignments, only spending 30 minutes studying…. These are all ingredients for failure. Some classes will be more important than others, some will require more work. So, I cannot stress how important it is at the beginning of each semester to sit down with your syllabuses from all your classes and figure out a tentative schedule that will work for you. Block out time each day/week for homework and studying. Most of the time professors make their assignments available far in advance so you can get started when it is convenient for you! If you get lucky and don’t have any work to get done use that time to organize your upcoming week, make notes for important events, clean out your desk drawers. Just get into the habit of sitting down, turning off your phone, logging out of Facebook, and focusing on school. That way it won’t be a huge shock when you have a big paper to do…or 4 big papers, 2 projects, and 3 tests to study for! It sounds like a waste of time but I did this right away my freshman year and I actually enjoyed the time to myself.
These are a few of my tips and the tricks that I have used over the years to be successful-
- USE A PLANNER- Mine is a weekly planner so that I can write things down on each day, I write notes about homework from each class and then I can cross them off when I finish them. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment.
- Sticky notes are awesome- make notes for what groceries you need, something you need to print off, etc.
- Find a pen/pencil that you like using- it will make taking notes slightly less painful
- Make study time a priority every week- it will pay off!
- Make study buddies in each of your classes that you can get together with before a test, to work on a big project or paper with. Setting these meeting times with classmates will hold you accountable to go and get work done!
I will graduate in 4 years. I will walk wearing honors cords. I will thank myself for the work that I put in. I will pay off my student loans knowing that I didn’t waste my time or money.
I don’t have all the answers. But I hope sharing my experience and what worked for me might help someone else be successful on their journey.
…because A’s and B’s will get my degree!
10 common day items that will become your best friends as a college freshman living in a dorm room. Note: these are not your typical items that you are expected to bring to college like a mini fridge, TV or laptop with Netflix capabilities, headphones, a love of coffee, etc… these are things that your mom currently has at home or that you use in your everyday life that seem unimportant. I promise you, they are the MOST important. No one told me to bring these things, I had to figure it out on my own, and it took a while. I will save you that trouble.
- CLOROX WET CLEANING WIPES- They are sold in large tubs at any grocery like store. BUY MULTIPLE, I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!! These things will be an easy fix to clean up any mess!
The rest are all pretty equally essential…
- Plastic baggies- again… sold in big boxes! You can keep snacks for class, keep your phone dry in the shower room, honestly the possibilities are endless!
- NY Quill- it will come in handy when you’re sick and need to sleep, but even more importantly it will be a lifesaver when it sounds like your neighbors are throwing a party and you have an important exam at 8 am!
- Plastic storage totes- they fit perfectly under a raised bed and you can keep food, extra soap, clean sheets, clothes you’re not wearing often, and SHOES! It can all be tucked into a few totes and pushed under the bed and pulled out super easy when you need them.
- Large reusable water bottle-take it to campus everyday and fill it up before you head back to your room for the night. Then you’ve got a full bottle of water for the night and you avoid the need to buy and keep a ton of plastic water bottles in your room.
- Tupperware containers- leftovers will be your savior when it’s the dead of winter and you don’t want to walk to the dining hall. Anytime you go for food, take and empty container and put your good leftovers in it and keep them in your mini fridge. Midnight snacks have never been easier!
- Post it notes- leave yourself notes!! Notes about test dates, where you parked your car, reminder to pay your phone bill, motivational notes to get you to work out.. anything. College can get overwhelming and it’s very easy to forget even the most important things.
- Flip-flops- these will come in handy for more than the showers. You can throw them on when your floor is gross cause you haven’t vacuumed in weeks, throw them on to run to the bathroom, to do laundry, or run down and pay the pizza guy!
- Paper plates and disposable silverware- you won’t always want to eat in the dining hall so when you take your food to go, or you order pizza, you’ve got things to eat with.
- Gum- keep it EVERYWHERE! You will be running late and not have time to go down the hall to brush your teeth. Or you’ll wake up in your friend’s room “still tired” from the night before, 5 minutes before class starts. Having gum in your bag will be your saving grace.
FIRST OF ALL…
You don’t always meet your “best friends” right away. Your first roommate won’t always be your “soul mate”.
I met so many people in my first semester of college that I got along with right away, and now I couldn’t even tell you their names. I met some of my best friends my freshman year but didn’t get close to them until sophomore year. Those are the people that will be at my wedding and will be in all my college stories that I tell my kids in 20 years. So don’t panic when you can’t find someone that you click with and want to spend a bunch of time with.
Second- A food plan doesn’t mean unlimited food!!
My food plan was about $1,000 and I had to individually purchase meals each day. So once I got to the end of the semester and I realized I had spent $955 already and I had 2 weeks until break, I had $45 to eat with. NOT SMART. Know what your schools food plan is!
Third- Dorms don’t always suck.
Communal showers and bathrooms might be an adjustment, but getting to know people in your hall can be really helpful when you have 3 loads of groceries to carry to the 3rd floor in the middle of winter. And it gives you some other people to binge watch Netflix with when your roommate decides to go workout.
Fourth (and probably most important)- You DON’T have to drink as much alcohol as humanly possible your freshman year.
It might be cool to drink and party with your friends. That doesn’t mean you need to drink everything in site and throw up every night. Learn your limit and don’t let yourself get to crazy. Smartphones are everywhere and your drunk shenanigans can quickly turn into an embarrassing picture that is sent around campus the next day.
Fifth- Most freshman have no idea what they are doing. Don’t be ashamed to ask for a helping hand.
You have advisers and team leaders for a reason. There is always someone who will be more than willing to help answer your questions, help you find your way, or give you some advice. Just ask. We’ve all been there… 2 hours before registration, staring at a list of classes having no idea what the difference between Poly Sci 1 and Human Studies of Poly Sci are. Ask before it’s t0o late.