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5 Simple Tips for the Freshman College Student - Part 2

Updated on January 5, 2015

Here are 5 additional tips for the college amateur to getting into the groove of college (following part 1)!

Now that you've absorbed a bit of the info from part 1, let's get started on these simple advices to improving your experience and results during your college career.

TL;DR at the end of article

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1) SAVE

And in this sense, we’re not talking about money. This is all about your documents, data, and projects. You know, the one you spent all month (or all of last night) doing. All that time and effort only to have everything go wrong and have nothing to show on the due date. It’s like showing up to the Super Bowl naked. Embarrassing. So what should you do?

There are simple safe measures and good habits to develop. Always save your document as you make progress. I would save every paragraph or so because a) why not, and b) computers do crash…especially when you need them the most. Whatever program you’re in, check to see if there are autosave options. If so, check for rate of occurrence and more importantly, where it’s saving to. If you’re working off a flash drive and finishing up some tweaks (or the entire paper) at your school’s library, have it save to your flash drive and not locally to the computer station you’re on. When you walk to class and realize you’ve left your flash drive or didn’t save properly, some facility’s have default settings to wipe the local drive of non-"your college’s name" files, and daily at that!

Your safe measure? Always save as you make progress. If you save locally to your desktop at home and have a finalized document, email it to yourself, or save a copy to your Google Drive (a nice safe haven for "just in case"). If you save locally to your desktop and plan to make changes at your library, match up the file information (last modified, time, etc) to make sure you’re bringing the correct file with you to edit. Little do you know, you dragged over an older saved version which only has your heading set up (which took you a whole night to type, what a night)! Yikes! Again, email it to yourself and double check it’s the correct file.

These are all safe measures to make sure you avoid showing up empty handed. Keep good practice of this and you’ll never show up to the Super Bowl naked.

2) PLAN AHEAD

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There are such things as going with the flow and letting the wind sweep you off your feet. However, planning your day will help you keep the line you walk straight as an arrow. The thing is, it’s easy to get side tracked, and by easy, I mean way too easy. There are only so many videos you can watch on Youtube and yet, there you are watching every single “Fails of 2014 Compilation.” Once that starts to happen, your bad habit develops and it becomes quite a hole to dig yourself out of. It may happens before your very eyes.

So…prioritize. One extended lunch here and your study time gets pushed. One extended break-time there, and your work out routine gets pushed too late to a time when you’ll have zero motivation to go. There’s no need to micro-manage your minutes, but always have your agenda in mind and keep aligned to your plans. It’s fantastic practice in all stretches of your daily life after college as well.

3) TAKE ADVANTAGE

Your college will have offered countless invaluable opportunities by the time you’ll have graduated. This includes seminars, concerts, software training, book clubs, affiliate volunteer programs, and many many more. Perhaps not all of the above are offered, but do take advantage of what you can.

Whether you’re solo or with a group of friends, take a good five minutes to check out the bulletin boards to see if anything interests you. Don’t see any thing you like? Yeah, just go home, right? Nope! Be a bit daring here and go to something you’re not into. You’ll be amazed at the people you’ll meet, the hidden interests you may discover, and the things you’ll learn. If it ends up being terrible, at least you tried it out, right? Right!

4) PLAY THE GAME

9) Play the Game - Chances are you will enter a college that will have a larger student body than your previous high school. With that in mind, you will run into the likes of other people with whom you have never encountered with such a variety of race, religion, personality, and opinion that may be quite a change for you. But you’ll be fine, you’ll mesh well throughout the years and you’ll be best friends with everyone in no time! The faculty body however, is a different story.

Here you will come across the coolest of the cool, and the worst of the worst. It’s okay though, this is good. If every professor was the same, you’d be but another cog in the system. But thankfully for you, not every professor is. And since not every professor is for everyone, you must keep on your toes. You won’t be able to apply the same mentality to every class/professor that you attend. You must be able to read them and allow them to read you. And what I mean is that you need to play your cards right. If the end goal is to earn your grade through diligence and intellect, then be diligent and use your brains. Be smart about how you approach your professor, your work, and your attendance. They are professors. They are there to help you, guide you, and ultimately, teach you. You are a student, willing and able to absorb information with youthful energy and enthusiasm (right?). At least, this is how it’s supposed to go. This is higher education after all.

However, there are times I’ve seen someone crash because of they had the wrong attitude towards the wrong professor. Who was in the wrong? I have no clue. Was there politics going on? Perhaps. Would this be any of your concern in one of your classes? Nope. Not in the slightest. You need to treat your professor (male or female) like a date. You need to be yourself while also winning them over. You’re unsure of what might offend them so you’re attentive to your words. You’re a bad sloucher so you’re more self conscious on your posture. You don’t overdress for the night, but you’re not too too casual. You’re there to listen to what he/she has to say but you respond to add or ask questions when your curious. Your conversation is going well…the night is going well. The only difference is that not only is date #2 locked in, you’re locked in for a full semester’s worth of dates. Keep on your toes!

5) BE OKAY WITH CHANGE

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There are several kinds of freshmen and they’re scattered between those who know exactly want they want to do, and those who are not quite sure what they want to be. You’ll have friends from high-school who for years knew they wanted to become doctors and others who’re all set up to become fire fighters. But at times there are those who might not know what they want to go into and that’s an okay thing to be. It’s a scary thought perhaps to think “you don’t yet know what you want to be,” but rest assured, it’s completely okay.

For one, there are people who have yet to figure themselves out, as a person, so it’s difficult to say what career path they’d like to follow. Again, this is okay. I say this because college is a trying time to figure out who you are. “I hate this class!” you might say one day. But why? Is it the professor, the subject, or the guy next to you who smells (cause he didn’t follow tip # 2 from part 1)? Should you drop out?

Some people know when college is not for them. So challenge yourself. Ask yourself. Asking yourself these questions will help you better understand you and ultimately make a better decision for your future classes.

You’re essentially you in a custom player menu in a video game trying to choose which stats you want. If you were playing NBA 2K, would you give yourself more speed, handles, and a jumper, or power, stamina, and rebounds? You choose. And as you gain more experience you can build your player up more and more until you have the all-star that you’ve been working towards, which is you. Looking good all-star!

TL;DR

Here's a summary for those of you who glance and scan:

  • Save (Save your documents, email yourself, backup, don’t arrive naked)
  • Plan Ahead (Stay on track to your goals for the day)
  • Take Advantage (Use the resources and opportunities to build up your stats)
  • Play the Game (Read your professor, be a student)
  • Be Okay With Change (Learn about yourself, you can change your path)

ARE YOU A COLLEGE AMATEUR?

How many times do you save while writing your essays?

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