How to be successful in school:
Well, at least some suggestions –
With many young people I know off to college this year particularly, I felt inspired to write this article, though it maybe a few weeks late, hopefully it’ll serve to encourage all you new freshmen out there!
To be honest, this is probably my expertise – school that is. If I could make a career out of going to class and making the grades, I would do so in a heartbeat. But I have no desire to be a professor, so I had to finally leave. I guess I could take out a loan and go back to be doubly qualified in some other field of study, but without a real income at the moment, probably not the wisest idea. However, I am always happy to share the knowledge I have acquired. So, here’s a brief post on how I went from an average of a 3.0 in high school to a 3.8+ from freshman year to graduate degree. Here are a few of the most important pieces of advice I can give to new college-goers.
1. Do not miss the first day.
While this may not sound like rocket science (because it’s actually not), I find it surprising how many fellow college friends of mine felt justified in missing the first day because it’s shrugged off as “Syllabus Day.” While true, this is when you can learn what makes your professor tick. Without even knowing it himself, he may say something that you should cue you into his expectations. While his syllabus may say “docks 5% for each day an assignment is late,” his tone will indicate how much he despises late work and how you could quickly lose personality points with him, which yes, do come in handy, especially around finals time when you’re out sick with that virus going around, and your hard drive crashed, and your dog actually ate your homework (or, worse case scenario, your final project…). “Syllabus Day” – the First Day – yes, the cell phone policy sucks and is belabored, but don’t miss an early chance to make a good impression by being there on time and willing to listen to his shpill.
2. “Get Involved!” with your college community – it’s not as lame as it may seem
I know it sounds a bit hokey (especially since this phrase seems to be plastered wall to ceiling), but it’s true, this is the time to network and who knows you might make a friend from it, or… boyfriend (Gasp!). But before you run off and rush, pick a group of people that you share interests with. I was definitely one at first to hesitate to be gun-ho for the “Get Involved” movement, which you’ll hear blare from bull horns from every organization on your campus quad. You’re an individual who doesn’t have to conform for any group! -True. BUT! Here’s the thing, we’re built for relationships, and while staying at home on youtube and tumblr is a good time, (been there, done that), you will build an eclectic collection of memories – and despite who you are – I know you want to live a good long life and look back and smile. Even if it’s just a few classmates from your Art appreciation class – you should connect with your community. You’ll hopefully be there for the 4-5 year haul, and it’ll be a heck lot easier with a support group. So whether you pledge Greek, or go geek with anime and art clubs – make friends – be involved with them. I promise you won’t regret the decision to try.
3. Never Give Up! Never Surrender!
Maybe a bit dramatic sounding and something you’ve been told all your life. Well, college isn’t any different, but it’ll certainly be easier now, more than ever, to quit. I switched my major five times, and attended 6 university campuses + 1 community college. Believe me, I wanted to quit after each failed attempt at a different degree. However, I realize (despite what media may say) there is value to that diploma. It may not bring your dream job immediately (hello, my blog title?), but the sense of accomplishment is one thing that will remain. Yeah, yeah, sounds a bit sentimental, okay, maybe a little. But, in all seriousness, in a struggling economy, a politically divided nation, and a quickly falling-apart world (too doomsday?) – you need something you can look on and say confidently that you did on your own! (Hopefully with that support team you made from #2). Why, you may ask? As someone who is trying to pursue a hard road as a writer, it gets discouraging to feel as though your effort is not good enough. But when you can look back two or three years ago and say, “I kicked butt for four (or five, six, or seven) years and it was hard! I can do this!” (Whatever “this” may be). And before that, don’t forget the twelve years that got you to your senior year of high school!
Don’t discount your accomplishments and successes, let college be one of those great wins! I definitely did not do college perfectly – could’ve been more social, could’ve settled on a major sooner and actually have a real job now – but I refuse to regret my experiences – made great friends, have many pictures I look back and laugh on, had my first boyfriend, and traveled the world (literally!) – make the most of your stay and be proud of yourself. You made it to the starting line of this exciting race to your bachelor’s degree. Reward yourself (and your parents who may be funding you) and get to the finish line.
I will probably share some other stories of my college successes (and not such-successes) to encourage you all 🙂 I hope if anything, you can know I am rooting for all of you college kids and am here cheering for your success – wherever it may take you.
*I own none of the images*