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How to Survive Your College Years

Updated on October 27, 2016


So the fact that you're reading this article tells me two things. 1. You're most likely in college. 2. You feel like you're drowning in a sea of endless papers and nothingness. NO worries! I'm here to help. I may not be an expert. But as someone who has (so far) endured almost 4 years of college experience and now Graduate School, I can at least help you not become a hermit in the mountains with a small turtle as your only friend. But on a serious note, college is a very difficult thing and it is not for everyone. It's just assumed that we're all supposed to be good at it because high school "prepared" us-yea,okay... In reality, for many career fields these days, a college degree is a requirement. This means we're all in this together. But what about when it's a few months in and you still only have that one friend that's also lowkey your lab partner so you're not sure if it's just an acquaintanceship of convenience. Or what about when you've been studying so hard but you're still just really not doing well in any of your classes? What happens when you're homesick as hell but still have the longer, harder half of the semester left? We're going to talk about these and much more in a bit so: Stay Tuned!

Get You Some Friends!

College is hard enough. There's no way you can make it through alone. And the good news is you don't have to. Even at a small college, there's still enough people that you should be able to find at least one other person that shares your lowkey love for childhood Disney movies. And it's not that hard. Tips: Complain. Yes, I said it. As I mentioned above, college is hard. You're away from home and you're expected to like be an adult or whatever (idk who thought of that foolish idea). So, if you're struggling, it's safe to assume that others are too. You're almost always safe if you complain about a teacher (just confirm first that the person you're talking to is in no way related to them-AWKWARD!) OR complain about the food in the cafe. THIS is how you make friends in college-find some common ground. I don't mean become a Negative Nancy however, because nobody likes that. And once you've bonded some and started building the foundation for friendship, make sure you focus on more positive things. But honestly, if all else fails, take it back to Kindergarten methods. The whole "I'm ___, do you want to be my friend?" really works.

Find some Funds!!

Get an on-campus job! I've slowly worked my way up from working food service at the cafe to working at the on-campus call center and I loved every second of it! Getting a job is a great step toward learning responsibility and growing into your adulthood. Plus it never hurts to have some money in your pocket. Once you've made friends, you're gonna want to go out and do stuff like movies and bowling-make sure that you have some spending money. Also, you deserve a little retail therapy after midterms so keep that in mind. Also, this is a good opportunity to start saving up for a car (if you don't already have one). Or just start saving in general because, before you know it, you'll be getting ready to enter the real world and you need to learn how to be self-sufficient like yesterday.

Don't Hurt Yourself

By that I mean, stop thinking that you're not doing college right unless you haven't showered for 5 days, only eat Cheetos for all 3 meals, have more caffeine running through your system than blood, and have forgotten how to spell social life. College isn't meant to be hell. Studying hard doesn't mean you're studying well- studying SMART does. And,how do you do that, you may ask? (Prepare yourselves.) DON'T, I repeat, DON'T read. (Cue the awkward pause where everyone thinks I'm crazy). Let me explain. College is learning to skim like a pro! If you sit there and read all the unnecessary examples and opinions of every textbook every time, you will not make it. Let's just be real. There is literally not enough time in a week to read the hours-worth of material you're assigned, complete projects, eat, sleep, exercise, and socialize. Realistically, you have to learn how to pick out what's important and what's not and only focus on the good stuff. You'll learn this by asking those who have gone before you- (it's always a good idea to make friends with upperclassmen). Also, you can pick it up by simple trial and error. After a while, you see what instructors are and aren't looking for and will be able to chuck like literally half of what you see in the textbook. (Okay, maybe not half, but you get my point.) I've seen so many freshmen get burnt out and discouraged under copious mounts of stress that's totally unnecessary. My mom always told me, "You can only do the best you can." Remember that.

Treat Yo'Self...Right

Make sure that you don't throw your health down the rabbit hole the moment you get stressed. Join the gym on-campus, find one nearby, or find a nice app that you like and work out right in your room. There's literally no excuse these days. Guess what guys- Exercise actually helps your brain function better! It improves oxygen intake and gives you a natural high! Plus it can totally boost your self-esteem during a time when it may be very fragile. What you eat is also incredibly important. It is more than possible to go to college and avoid the Freshman-15. Instead of running to "comfort food" when you're stressed, grab a smoothie-it's also sweet but you won't have to feel uber guilty afterward. Also, grab granola bars or other healthy snacks for on-the-go breakfast. Also, make sure you sleep. Yes, sleep in college is a thing. You just need to manage your time. And that doesn't mean sitting down with a planner for 4 hours every 2 days and scheduling out every second of your life. I literally start each year writing out a planner and then never opening it again-but that's just me. Anyway, what I mean is only watching one episode of your favorite show on Netflix or getting up to do an assignment even if you don't feel like it. Do things early even when all of your classmates are putting it off-trust me on this one. You'll thank yourself later. For some people, it means not going to one or two events-but there will always be more. Only you know what you need. So just be real with yourself. We're not in High School anymore...

You Got This!

Make sure to have fun! College can be some of the best years of your life if you let it! Make new friends, create memories that will last the rest of your life, fall in love 5 times, and get an awesome degree while doing it all! Make sure to take care of yourself and don't forget to call your mom every once in a while. Get close to your professors- they can actually be pretty cool once you get to know them. DON'T pull all nighters. Learn a new skill. Try weird things. Eat different foods. Sing in your dorm room. Own your independence. Grow as a person. Find yourself ,then lose yourself, then find it again. And don't forget to have the time of your life!


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