How To Survive College (if I could do it, so can you)
So I’m finally graduating college and I figured I’d made a list of quick survival tips to make everyone’s experience easier. Going into college at 18 can be a complicated experience, especially since it’s normal to still feel insecure at that age about what to do and how to go about this ‘pseudo-adult’ thing. So, here’s what I can share with you new-comers (and not so new) to make your life easier:
- Avoid 7am classes at (almost) all costs. Look, if you’ve been in Tumblr around long enough you’ve heard about this one, you know we all tell you this is not like High School. It’s all real. You’ll hate yourself and your naiveness every morning of the semester.
- Exception: if that is the only time you can take that class, make sure to check whether it’ll be offered next semester or whether you might need to credit that course in order to take other ones. Early mornings might be worth it in exchange for not loosing a whole year of classes and struggling in your later semesters.
- Your health comes first. Seriously. This is not some “Tumblr self-care uwu” thing, it’s very important especially if you wanna do your best in your classes and day to day things. Eat healthy. Hungry students might be prone to just eating whatever they can find or lots of take-out but that will only leave you filling too full and sleepy, you could miss a whole afternoon of doing useful shit because of a bad meal.
- On that note: eat. No excuses. No “I forgot”. No “I was too busy”. Being hungry makes it harder to concentrate, plus if you’re living away from home you won’t have anyone nagging at you to make sure you’ve eaten. You need to be a grown up and take care of yourself.
- All-Nighters are the WORST. For real. You don’t realize how important sleep is until it becomes a scarce thing in your life. When you sleep, your brain tosses away useless information, reboots, and most importantly: saves things you’ve learnt into your long-therm memory. So if you spend all night cramming for a test, you’re just wasting time. You didn’t learn shit. Plus, lack of sleep can increase alcohol levels in your blood. So you’ll end up attending to class exhausted, feeling foggy, not remembering shit and drunk-ish. Not good for tests at all.
- Don’t even give a fuck about popularity. I know, this sounds like something out of The Breakfast Club, but I’m serious. It might have been “a thing” in High School, but in College? No one gives a flying fuck. You’ll notice this mostly with the older students. They are all exhausted, stressed, sleep-deprived and just trying to survive. You might see a guy on his pijamas strolling through campus on a skate board and I promise no one will think “lol what a loser”. Everyone’s thinking “damn I should’ve worn my PJ’s too”. Pretending to be someone you’re not is a damn waste of time and effort.
- Open up in class. Not in a “tell them all your secrets” kinda way, just be yourself. I know: cheesy. But listen, you’re studying to do what you love —or at least, I hope, what you like— to do. So are the people around you. Which means they may have a lot more in common with you than you might ever dream. By being yourself, you’ll attract others like you and find a cool group of friends who understand you way better than the “we just happened to have a class together” high school friends.
- Join extracurriculars! This is related to the two previous points. The fastest way to meet new people that are like you —especially in a big college where actually getting to meet people can be hard— is joining an activity. It can be a sport, a club, a student council. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s something you like doing. Believe me, there are a lot more people that share your interests than you might initially think. Especially do this in your first semesters, when you’re likely to have easier classes and more free time to do this kinda stuff. As some one who did a lot of things in the past four years, trust me, I used to see guys you’d go straight home after their classes and they had a lot harder time adapting than those of us with a full schedule of fun stuff.
- Find time for yourself too. Especially if you’re an introvert, “me time” will be important for your mental health.
- Exercise. Find time for it. I know an extra hour of studying or lying around might seem more “useful” to you, but stress can be very high at college and it’s a major reason for people to end up failing classes or having a hard time. An hour of exercise every now and then can do wonders for you, especially in finals (even though it might seem it’s harder to find the time in those dates, it’s twice as worth it).
- Don’t be scared to be alone. Like I mentioned before, popularity doesn’t exist here. You gotta eat alone between classes? No one gives a damn. You need to sit on your computer alone while doing homework at the library? So do tons of people. I knew friends who wouldn’t eat at college unless they found someone to sit down and eat with them too. Honestly? Not worth it.
- Get to know your teachers. Many of them will show up again later on to give you other classes so knowing how each of them operates will make your life easier. Some teachers care the most about punctuality, some grade creativity over content, some (more than you can imagine) will turn out to be awesome friends.
- For example: if you have a teacher who is closer to your age, they might be a lot tougher the first few weeks of classes in an attempt to set boundaries with the students and build up respect, work hard at first and they’ll ease up as time goes by.
- Reach out when you need help. Whether it is to your friends, your parents, your teachers or a counsellor, there are tons of people to give you a hand when you’re struggling academically or personally. Asking when in doubt, or when you need help, will make your life easier than if you try to do everything by yourself.
There’s probably more specific stuff that I’ll post now and then if I remember, but this are the general guidelines I’d give to anyone starting out at college. Finally, my inbox is always open for anyone who wants to reach out and ask stuff about classes, friends, etc. People have come to me before wanting to know how to write essays or study and I’ll try to give the best advice I can.
Good luck! :)