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How to: Succeed in College

Updated on November 25, 2019

Get Me Through College Unscathed, and Life with Minimal Bruising

“A day will come when you look back to your past, and then you will look forward, and smile”

-Brianna Galapir

So, you are now the proud owner of a shiney high school diploma with the rest of your life at your fingertips. Soak in that feeling of success. Taste it, breathe it in, bathe in it and enjoy it while it lasts because you have 4 more years of (excuse my language) hell to pay. College is the next step and you have no idea what to do, how to approach it, or where to start. That is okay. It is perfectly normal to have these feelings. Especially when faced with something new. Follow these steps to success and you will do just fine...eventually

Step 1: Breathe

Everyone gets overwhelmed. For most, college is the first time they are actually out on their own, no longer relying on mommy and daddy to put food on the table and make sure all of the laundry is done. We are reduced to lean pockets, top ramen, and cafeteria food. Laundry piles up, and ten page research reports can sneak up on us at the very last minute. When that overwhelming, anxious feeling begins to creep up, stop what you’re doing, let go of the worries, and take a minute just to breathe.

Step 2: Do NOT take on more than you can handle

This is the number 1 mistake almost ALL freshman make. If you’re like me, you will want to take as many classes as possible so you can finish early and really get started with your life. This can be detrimental to your long term success and overall well being. For your first semester, especially if you are working, reduce your classes to 5. If you do this each semester, and stay on track with your degree process, you will graduate on time. If you add a few summer classes here, and there, you will graduate early. There is no point to taking 8 classes a semester if you do not thrive in all of them. Pace yourself. Once I got into that routine, I was able to take on 21 units vs 15 in no time.

Step 3: Build a relationship with your advisor

You advisor is there to help you, and is a huge counterpart in your success. Schedule regular meetings with them.

Step 4:Utilize Professor's Office Hours

I cannot stress this enough!!! TO this day it never seeks to amaze me the amount of students that do not utilze Professor's office hours. This is 1 hour each day that they have set aside for students to come in, get clarification, extra help, anything regarding the class really. This one especially applies for University students. It is very easy to drown amongst all of the sharks in the tank. Utilizing office hours is not only a way to get 1:1 time with your professor to get their insight, but to build a relationship that can very possibly be a HUGE help when graduation approaches, they are usually very connected within the community and will remember you.

Step 5:Print up your class schedule

So many times I have seen and heard my friends freaking out because they cannot remember when or where their next lecture is, frantically running down to the library to pull up their schedules with minutes to spare. Before you find yourself caught in this predicament, print up your class schedule, and keep it in your binder for easy access just in case. You're going to have a lot on your mind and the memory of which class and when may slip out once or twice until you get into the routine.

Step 6: Invest in a Planner

Make a daily check listWith the insane amount of things we are expected to complete, why not make it easy on ourselves by making a quick checklist? Write down everything you wish and need to accomplish within that day and mark off each item as you go. Not only will you reduce the anxiety, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Step 7: Eat regularly, exercise often, and get enough sleep

Ever heard of the freshman 15? If you are not careful, this will come up and get you when you least expect it! Your life is going to change. You will be doing a lot more studying, less exercising, and with free range in the cafeteria, you will probably be doing a lot more eating. Your sleep cycles will also be affected. Yes it is hard to schedule study time, sleep time, and party time, but give yourself at least 8 hours of sleep, 5 nights per week.

Step 8: So you made it

You have made it to graduation, once again! The sweet smell of freedom and accomplishment fills the air one last time. Enjoy it! Live your life one day at a time. Stop regretting. Forgive and forget. Move on. And most importantly, appreciate every day. Keep a daily checklist, and remember, breathe. The world is your playground, enjoy every minute of it!

Do you ever wish that you were a kid again? A time that was so simple, pure and innocent. A time when our biggest decision was whether we wanted PB&J or a Turkey and cheese sandwich, which new boyfriend you had for that week, and all you really did was pass “love” notes back and forth, and he made sure to save you a seat at the lunch table. Within a week it would be onto the next. Now it seems as though we have the weight of the world riding on our shoulders.

This is a time when most are beginning their lives’ as adults, nearing towards our bachelor’s degrees, or already knees deep in a career. It seems like just yesterday school days were over by 2:30, a page of pointless homework to do, and playing outside until the street lights came on was the norm. Summers were spent lounging around the pool without a care in the world. Now, it’s school before seven in the morning, until after the street lights come on. Summers are spent taking more classes to get ahead, and vacations are impossible with work. The one thing that we seem to forget is that one day, this really will all be worth it. The hard work, the struggles, the sleepless nights, the heartbreak, the anticipation for something more, it prepares us for what lies ahead. Makes sure that we’re ready for the real world. We will always have the memories of our past to remind us of true happiness, but making new memories is what life is all about.

From the moment you step onto stage and receive your high school diploma, the beauty of the world shines down on us and we are overwhelmed with excitement. The first time we step foot onto that college campus and breath in the sweet, fresh air of adulthood, most of us are in a place of endless opportunities…that is until we are hit with trying to find the best schedule, crashing classes, finding time to eat, trying to make it all the way across campus before the next class starts, wondering why you would put yourself through the torture of choosing classes so far away from each other, finding time to study, work, and keep somewhat of a social life, you may lose yourself in the process.

Enjoy the surprises and do not forget to laugh!

This book is a great read, highly suggested for those who need motivation. The title says it all!

© 2012 BriannaGalapir


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