The path of life is full of twisting turns, closed doors, and unsolved problems. The key to finding success is realizing that the hardships on this path make your achievements worth it. My forte in advice comes in the college life department. I’m one semester from graduation, and I can honestly say I did college “The Right Way”. However, that was not always the case. Have I faced problems? Yes. But I overcame them, and you will too.
I’ve found that if you make the most of every situation, you’re more likely to have a better outcome. At the end of my freshman year of college, my GPA started with a decimal point, and as a result, my two parents were very reluctant to send me back. So I had to ask myself this question: “why am I going to college?” If you’re a college student, I encourage you to ask yourself this same question, that way you can form your own goals. Don’t go to college simply because you aren’t sure what to do with your life. Go to college with a clear idea of what you want to experience, and watch the experience unfold before you.
College is the final step before you enter the “real world.” That’s right, forty hour weeks (a typical work week), 6am wake-up calls, and big boy pay checks. Don’t cut yourself short in the four years prior to this. Rather, prepare yourself to the fullest by taking an extra class each semester. Five classes per semester for the first year of college is appropriate, but taking six classes each semester thereafter will teach you how to balance your schedule and prepare for a real-world work load.
If you’re taking six classes a semester, make them count. Setting clear goals for each class you take will help you balance your workload. Most classes will require your full attention, but some will call for all of your concentration after hours. Ask around for the teachers with the best reputations. While in class, consider sitting in the front row and do more than just get the grade. Set yourself up for a letter of recommendation that will help get you the internship or scholarship you need.
Let’s face it… some classes might not require your full attention. It’s a sad fact, but it’s a reality. Your 11am might require your undivided attention for 90% of the class, but your 12pm might only require your input for 20% of the class. Some teachers tend to babble, and some show pointless movies that have nothing to do with anything. Time management is everything in college. Use these 15 minutes of “nothingness” to get a head start on homework or make some flash cards for your test next week. These minutes will add up, and before you know it, you might save enough time to get around to that dirty laundry that’s haunting you from under your bed.
On the contrary, learn the class material the very first time it is presented. Time is too valuable in college to be wasted, and one of the biggest time wasters in school is relearning something that you didn’t get right the first time. When you don’t get something right away, raise your hand… and ask until you GET IT! Don’t put it off and pile new facts on top, because most of the time they won’t make sense. Your professors are there for a reason, and asking them questions shows you’re trying your best and they might turn that B+ to an A-.
Lastly, college is the ultimate growing experience, and the only way to make it count is to have some serious butt kicking fun. The past four years of my life have been consumed with lots of hard work and studying, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the lasting relationships and friends I’ve made. Take some great pictures. Go on at least one memorable spring break. Maybe even find that special someone. Just remember to have fun.
Understanding why you’re in college and turning that information in to goals (while having some fun in the mean time), is your key to opening locked doors. Your four years of college should be your shovel to clearing the way. I know I did it the right way, and hopefully these tips will help you do the same!