Written by: Hemanth Lolla // Jun 15, 2018
Last updated: Oct 26, 2020
College is one of the most rewarding and one of the most challenging parts of life. I remember my freshman year at USF as being very interesting because I learned a great amount of things that are very beneficial and changed me to be a better person. I’ve also experienced some hardships that are easily avoidable. I will share some of my tips on what to do and what not to do when it comes to going to college.
There’s More to College Than What You Might Think
When it came to my freshman year, my main mission was to go to class, listen to the lectures, do the homework, and get good grades. Turns out, there’s more to it than that when it comes to the full college experience. Sure, grades are important, but what’s also important is getting involved on campus.
Creating connections and making new friends are just as important as grades in classes. These new connections might be beneficial to your future career. Coming out of college with just knowledge alone wouldn’t really help you in the real world when you don’t have experience or connections to back it up.
Don’t procrastinate. Just don’t. It’s such a pain in the butt. We all go through it, and sure it might have worked in high school and you think it will be perfectly fine to procrastinate in college, but nope, it’s not. You will come to the harsh realization that college is not as simple as high school.
In addition to college being harder than high school, the stress that comes along with procrastinating is one of the worst things that comes to mind. I totally don’t recommend it, and you won’t learn anything from it. Just trust me on this one.
Finish your assignments ahead of time, and goof around after your assignments are done if you want, not in reverse. You’ll have more fun when you’re not worrying about getting your homework and studying done. Procrastination was one of the things that gave me a big wakeup call during my freshman year. Though I recovered now, the experience will never be forgotten.
Take Care of Yourself
Exercise and eat right; it’s important. The freshman 15 is real, and it’s a terrible hit for your self-esteem. Whether you gain 5 or 15 pounds, it’s not pleasant. We have all had moments when we were really stressed out, and you will have many more of those in college. Weeks of studying, eating the wrong kinds of foods, and lack of exercise can take a toll on your body, hence the weight gain.
Exercise can help a lot with that. It’s a great stress reliever and makes you get in shape. It’s also a wonderful way to socialize with people who might share similar goals. When I was a freshman, I didn’t care about working out or anything, but sometimes I would just eat a lot due to stress. Within my first year, I gained a considerable amount of weight. It’s not worth it, and it’s better if you exercise and eat right. It really helps your self-esteem and makes you feel good about yourself.
Be part of extracurricular activities. You will burn out from studying too much, and you will need a break from time to time. Keep up a hobby, and if you don’t have a hobby, join a new club. It can be anything that interests you.
You’ll meet new people from this hobby or club and might create new connections that could benefit you in the future. You will meet new people, make new friends, learn something new, and have fun. I also forgot to mention that forming connections will be more beneficial to you in the future than not forming connections. You’ll have more chances for internships/jobs that way.
Pay Attention to the Smaller Details
Things that might seem tiny may turn out to be important, so keep these in mind.
- Your professor is your best asset. Whether you’re doing well or struggling, getting to know your professors is important. Meet them during their office hours to ask questions or to get clarification on an assignment. They would be happy to assist you.
- Study somewhere other than your house. It clears you from all distractions, and helps you focus on your work instead of looking for chances for escape. The USF library has lots of cool study areas, like study pods, study rooms, common study areas and more.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are a variety of resources for students, like the Tutoring Center and the Writing Studio.
- Figure out parking ahead of time if you don’t live on campus. Parking is a problem at every university, so I would highly suggest coming early and parking near the campus. This helps keep the campus easily accessible, and keeps you from having to fight for spots midday and possibly missing your classes. If you don’t have the will power to come early, then ride a bus. The USF transit system is pretty good.
- Learn how to manage your money. Money is a big deal, during college and in general real life. Never spend more than you earn. It’ll be such a headache to pay off. Also consider building your credit by having a student credit card with low credit limit and paying off the balance on time and in a consistent manner.
- Take advantage of the college resources available to you. From help finding a job to having fun, there are a number of college resources for students.
Put It All into Perspective
College is a massive step in people’s lives. It’s a gate keeper for learning new skills, gaining important knowledge, and making important connections. These tips are a few out of the many that can help you succeed in college and real-life experiences. I hope you will take these tips to heart and go to college with a new found confidence that can strengthen your relationships and help you conquer any problems you may face in the future.