By Jourdan Bazley
Blog Content Contributor
You may think that you know, but you have no idea. College has just begun for you and while you think that you have got this experience in the bag, there are a few things that you need to know about your first year in college. You will have the best times of your life while on your own, but plant these things into your mind before you try to take on this new change!
1. College is fast paced: GET A PLANNER!
Coming out of high school is a fabulous milestone you have just crossed, but you now have another great endeavor that is about to begin. Time will fly when you are having fun! A planner is a necessity in your college experience because you will need to keep track of your classes and know how to manage your spare time wisely. One of the biggest challenges of switching gears and coming to college is that your assignments have deadlines, and very, very, very little wiggle room. You need to know when things are due, and when you need to begin preparing for that big test or paper in order to avoid procrastination and cramming.
2. Swipes are a hot commodity.
Swipes are like gold, in a sense. They are conveniently placed on your ID, in a fashion that allows you to just swipe your card and POOF, there is food. I say this just to give you a fair warning; you are a freshman, you have swipes and you are now the most popular person on campus. Don’t be completely afraid to show love every once in a while and swipe a friend or two, but know that swipes are your meals, so you should watch how many you are using in order to avoid running out before the semester is over.
3. Early To Bed, Early To Rise.
We have all heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” before. How many of us have implemented this practice into our daily lives? College comes with a lot of responsibility and newness. You need to gain a healthy and productive way of doing things now. Finding time for good rest is essential in order to avoid falling behind on schoolwork or responsibilities due to a lack of vitamin PM when eight in the morning rolls around. Staying healthy will be a little tough in the beginning, but once you get on a routine you will find that you have a clearer mind and a more productive day. Get a full eight hours of sleep as many times a week as you can, and check out Proven Habits of the Wealthy – 6 Sensible Benefits to Early to Bed Early to Rise – The Power of Early AM by John Engle for more on the benefits of getting to bed at a decent time.
4. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Get involved!
College is a great place to explore who you are and what you represent. Here at Texas State, many student organizations are offered to get students involved in and off campus. Maybe you haven’t picked a major yet and want to further explore what you like to do. Maybe you know exactly what you want to pursue and you just need a place to better prepare. As a new student, it is important for you to get out and do new things with new people. Explore your surroundings, and don’t be afraid to get a little bit out of your comfort zone.
5. Create good habits now.
Old habits die hard, and college is the last step for you before you are put into the real world with real responsibilities. Now is the time to create lasting habits that will benefit you later, while you still have a little wiggle room for mistakes. Get in the habit of being reliable when it comes to work and people. Keep your surroundings organized and functional and show up at least five minutes early to everything. These habits will carry over to your life and workplace after college, so make them worthwhile.
6. Budget your money.
Money can be a scarce figurine while in school, so find a way to be smart about your spending. Luckily, San Marcos has many ways of working with us college attendees to make it easier for us to watch our money. Sunset Bowling Lanes offers dollar bowling to students on Monday nights, as well as the Texas Cinema Starplex 12, which offers five-dollar tickets to students with IDs. Be sure to watch how much you have left on your card, and avoid over drafting that saved up summer money.
7. Get to know yourself!
You are FINALLY making choices on your own now, so use college as a time to truly be who you are. The things that you choose to do here will begin to shape who you will become. Focus on what makes you happy and healthy, and don’t get accustomed to just following the crowd. Learn all that you can about yourself now and involve yourself with people that have your best interest. Remember, birds of a feather flock together. Represent who you are at all times, because you never know whom you are going to meet or what they will mean to your life.
8. Influence others, don’t let them influence you.
You will encounter situations like a party, a significant other or possibly even a mental dilemma that you may not have been in before. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed off track because you made a silly decision one night. A lot of things that you will do later in life start now, and that includes your ability to walk away from things that you know are not for you. Use your knowledge to influence others rather than change yourself. All in all, you are here for your education, so make sure that you stay out of sticky situations and ensure that you are still on track to graduate and continue moving forward.
9. Know your resources.
College is the place for you to explore your career options and work to become exactly what you dreamt up. Focus on your schoolwork before anything else. Texas State’s Career Services provides career counseling, internship help and job searches for your benefit. Every student at Texas State is also given a peer mentor to help guide him or her to success. A few of the other many resources that are provided to students include SLAC, ITAC and the Writing Center. Look for ways to surround yourself with things that will push you to complete your goals and accomplish the better things in life. Don’t sell yourself short.
10. Get a mentor.
A mentor can vary greatly between an older friend, to a boss or idol. It took me a long time to pick up on this concept, but here it is for you. Find someone that represents where you want to be in the future. Ask them how they got there and what they can share with you about the process. A mentor is a great way to pace your career success, know where you should be in order to progress in the way that you want to, and keep yourself knowledgeable in your field. Mentors can also lead to great internships and jobs.
Now that you have been given these major steps for success in college, it is up to you to implement them. Take advantage of all of your opportunities, and remember, GO BOBCATS!