First Semester Survival Guide

So you just graduated high school and you’re thinking, “My gosh, the best years of my life are over, and now I have to face college. How the hell am I going to do this?” By June, you’re getting millions of emails with an unbearable amount of information about registering for classes, what to bring for move-in day, the McDaniel Plan, orientation, and even more (who thought that there could be more!). In July, you are assigned a complete stranger to live with you for the next 9 months of your life. Before you know it, it is August, summer is over, and it is time to cut the cord with your parents, grow a pair, and become a full-time college student. Your stomach turns upside down as you arrive on the campus. You’re handed a stack of packets and schedules and you finally make it to your room and begin unpacking. Within what seems only a few seconds, it’s the first day of classes and you feel like you’re in a completely new dimension. To help guide you through this new parallel universe, here are 10 secrets of success for your first semester.


Keep a Positive Attitude: It is of the upmost importance to tell yourself, “I can do this,” especially when things are a little bit harder then you expected. Some days, even just getting up for that 8 o’clock class is a hard task of its own.


Keep a planner: If you think you can rely on pure memory for managing assignments, meetings, practices, rehearsals, etc, you are very, very wrong. Keep an organized planner at your side at all times.


Time Management: This may be the most important aspect of being successful in the college envi-ronment. Make specific time slots for studying, planning, writing papers, and most importantly, SLEEPING. Most students are so caught up in working, they forget to sleep. When you have free time between classes though, try to get work done, so in the evenings, you can hit the sack a little earlier.


Create a proper studying environment: Studying and completing assignments should be done in a place with no distractions. Most students prefer the library or quiet lobbies. In your room, there are televisions, food, and usually people to distract you. Venture off to more discreet places to complete work.


Know your limits: Sometimes, it is necessary to ask for help. Most of us cannot do everything alone, so please ask your teacher, professors, and advisors for help when things become overwhelming. Even the smartest students need help somewhere among the line.


Know your resources: There are various resources available to all students on campus. The writing center is a great resource for almost all assignments, no matter what stage you are currently residing. There are students and teachers available, so be sure to ask for help, and make appointments ahead of time!


Self-Control: You are no longer under the watchful eye of your parents. Every decision you make is completely your responsibility. You need to exercise good judgment when it comes to staying up late, partying, and procrastinating. “Think before you act” are your watchwords.


Adapt and Adjust: College is a completely different environment then anything you probably have ever experienced. There is much more studying and paper-writing involved, more people to deal and live with, and a lot more responsibility. You must constantly adjust your habits to find what works best for you.


Balance: Oh, this one is very important. Adjacent to time management, you must keep a healthy balance between work, studying, eating, resting, sleeping, and having free social time with your friends. If you tip the scale too much, college will be hell.