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Five Tips to Conquer College Life

Updated on October 31, 2018
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Dani Alicia is an actress, writer, and entrepreneur. She writes about topics that interest her.


Going to college can be a big change from your normal routine. For many people, it's the first time they're living on their own. While this seems like one of the best things that can happen (no parents, no curfew, no rules!), it can be very intimidating to young people who suddenly find themselves faced with being a responsible adult while succeeding in college. There is a lot to learn and not just in class. Luckily there are people who have gone to college before you who can give you some great college hacks to make your college career a bit easier. Here are five tips that can help you conquer college life.

1. Beware of the Freshman Fifteen

If you aren't familiar with the phrase Freshman Fifteen, this is a phrase that basically indicates that students gain weight in their first year of college. In a study published in 2008, it was found that freshman gain over five times as much weight in their freshman year of college than the general population[1]. When eating on campus, keep this in mind and opt for healthier options like salads.

2. Learn as much as you can about computers.

In today's digitally advanced age, it is impossible to get through college without using computers. Knowing some computer shortcuts can come in handy. Note-taking is a perfect example of how short cuts can help. Some professors lecture at a very fast pace so you'll benefit from knowing some note-taking computer shortcuts.

3. Register for classes as early as possible.

Unlike high schools where they will continuously pack kids into an overcrowded class, colleges have enrollment limits. Many freshman classes may allow a couple of hundred students in class, but as you get into the more "important" classes that are relevant to your major, you'll quickly find that maximum enrollment drops down to the lower end of double digit numbers. There are many classes who have a maximum enrollment of less than ten. When you consider the fact that many campuses have hundreds or even thousands of students trying to get into the same class, it becomes evident why early registration is important.

4. Experience as much as possible.

College is about education and preparing yourself for a future career, but it's also about having fun and experiencing new things. You could even say that these years can help to shape who you'll become in the future. Join groups/clubs, go on trips, study abroad. You'll make lifelong friends, experience things you may never get the chance to later on, and most importantly, you'll have fun.

5. Avoid all-night cramming sessions if possible

Many college students stay up all night studying for tests, writing papers, doing projects, or even working third-shift jobs. While it may seem like you're getting more done, you're actually not because your brain isn't functioning at full-capacity. The reason for this is a concept called memory consolidation.

Memory consolidation is a process by which short-term, unstable, new memories that are stored in the hippocampus part of the brain are converted to more stable long-term memories that get stored in the neocortex part of the brain[2]. Recent studies have shown that lack of sleep actually hinders the memory consolidation process[3]. This means that while an all-night crammer may initially help you remember a lot of information, by the time you get around to taking the test, presenting the project, etc., your tiredness compounded with a faulty memory consolidation process will probably make you forget most of it.

Final Thoughts

College can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Your freshman year is probably going to be spent learning the ropes and making a lot of mistakes. Don't stress about it because mistakes are good. Mistakes can be the best way to learn. As you continue down the college path, you'll figure out your own life hacks. Until then, these five tips can help to ease your transition into college life as a freshmean and get you going in the right direction.






© 2018 Dani Alicia


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