You’ve been told, “College will be over before you know it, so enjoy it while it lasts.” While this mantra certainly offers some truth, it does not take into account those lonely, dark times at night when you wrestle with a term paper or simply wonder if your major is right for you. In some ways college is an endurance test and those that endure shall be rewarded with a degree. Read on for some timely survival tips for struggling college students.
1. Get refocused. Your present challenge is just that: a challenge. And, as challenges come, you can meet each one and overcome them gradually. Have a mindset of “this too shall pass” and you’ll be able to see beyond the present discomfort.
2. Study as you. Cramming for tests may yield a good grade for you, but it will do little to help you retain information. Instead, review your notes after each class and rewrite them if that helps you to retain your information. When it comes to studying for a big test, you’ll have the bulk of the preparation done, enabling you to get a good night’s rest before your next test.
3. Make diet and rest a priority. You’re a 19- to 23-year-old college student and you’re feeling invincible. You can stay up late, get up early and live on Cheerios and peanut butter crackers if you had to. Such a lifestyle is a recipe for disaster, something that can bring on poor health and cause you much anxiety. Prioritize your personal health by eating right and getting enough rest.
4. Ask for you help. Yes, you have to swallow your pride from time to time and admit that you can’t do or know everything. Welcome to the human race! Make that appointment with a professor to receive clarity about an assignment or sign up for peer tutoring if your Advanced Calculus class is giving you fits. Talk with a college counselor if your feelings of being overwhelmed or low self worth just won’t go away.
5. Pace yourself. Just as you should study as you go, your entire approach to college should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. You can reach your goals provided that you work on each goal step by step. If you’re finding yourself partying too much or simply losing focus, pull back and concentrate on what matters most.
6. Tap your resources. Besides the help you can get from a professor or a peer tutor, there are many other resources on campus for your assistance. If you’re feeling sick or are having trouble coping, visit your college infirmary or wellness center for an evaluation. If you’re stuck or overwhelmed by an assignment, your library/media center can help. For downtime, your college may give you access to video games, movies and other entertainment perks — take advantage of these!
7. Schedule your classes wisely. It has been said that “Thursday is the new Friday” when it comes to scheduling classes. While it is true that fewer classes are available on some days of the week, you may find that your schedule has room for the Friday class. Instead of cramming your schedule with classes on four days, spread them out to five to relieve the studying pressure especially for mid-term and final exams.
8. Learn to get along. You are not going to like everyone you meet on campus nor will they like you. You don’t need to pretend that everyone is your friend or grovel to fit in. What you can learn is how to get along with diverse groups of people. Soon, you’ll learn that the differences you have with people are usually small. Learning to get along with others while in college will set you up for success in a very diverse workplace.
9. Practice your networking skills. Four years of college will soon yield 40 or more years of work. Some of the people you meet in college will stay connected with you far beyond college. Understand that every person you meet is a possible connection to a new job. You’re that to them as well. Make networking an essential part of your college experience.
10. Study abroad and internships. There are two resume enhancing matters you should consider before you hit your junior year: a semester for studying abroad and an internship, preferably between your junior and senior year. Studying abroad will expose you to another culture and prepare you for global work. An internship will give you hands-on experience. Doing both will give you the exposure you need to become a standout job candidate after graduation.
Your college years are going by fast and can leave with you a lasting impression. Make that impression a good one and you’ll build a foundation that will provide a launching pad for your career.