How to Succeed in College Without Really Trying

College is the place you go when you want to learn from some of the world’s brightest. It is something that most people wait at least 17 years to experience, and most graduates would tell you that there is nothing like college. All-nighters, Ramen noodles, and roommates are three phrases known to every college student from here to Kalamazoo.

Temple University junior, Ria Gerring, 20, recalls that her favorite thing about living on campus was the friendships she made, and the ease of being able to wake up minutes before a class and still be on time. “College has been a struggle though”, Ria says. She remembers Finals Week in fall 2004 when a paper she had done would not print, and she had only a few minutes before class began. Luckily, Ria was able to turn in that paper and continue in her quest to a B.A. in Psychology.

Succeeding at college is already difficult but the combination of being away from home for the first time, a sharing a jail cell-sized room with the roommate from Hell, and being more broke than you have been in a long time is sometimes too much for the average freshman to handle. Some people can handle all of these factors and succeed without really trying. For the rest of us, I have decided to include some helpful tips to guide you through your first year in college.

Here are five simple suggestions for surviving your first year in college!

Procrastination kills.
While most students can attest to the difficulty that is college homework, the easiest way to conquer this monster is to do work on time. Getting assignments done a few days early removes that last minute rush when it seems like anything is liable to go wrong.

Save, Save, Save.
Save money in the bank for a rainy day. Open a savings account. Save quarters for laundry. Don’t quite understand this yet? Save everything! Save loose change for those weeks between paychecks. Save papers in five minute intervals as you type them, to avoid the great scramble that is a lost paper.

Be aware of Cafe food.
It’s not as bad as the mystery meat from high school, but it will help you transform into a new person. The Freshman 15 is real for some people, students gaining weight. The easy access to food – at some schools, the cafeteRia is open until midnight – is welcome, but try your best to remember to eat healthy. Meal plans should provide options. Temple University sophomore Efiemi Oguara, from Washington, DC, says she is able to continue her vegetaRian lifestyle at her school with food from the school’s Student Center and various restaurants on campus.

Learn to appreciate your roommate – no matter how messy he is.
Try your best to find the good in every situation. Yes, your new roommate loves to play dark, Black Sabbath tunes before bed. No, he does not understand why you wash dishes more than three times a week. But, you should both try to understand each other. Who else will be there to comfort you at 3 am when your girlfriend just dumped you for the kid across the hall?

On that note, communication is also key in good roommate relations. If you dislike something your roommate says or does, the best person to talk to about the situation is him. Set up rules about cleaning, noise, and guest policies. This can help you avoid problems in the future!

Plan out your day – everyday.
A wise man once said that the best way to make God laugh was to make plans, but in the case of most college freshman, planning is essential in the journey to graduation! Remember to allow room for breaks between classes, and attending meetings of your favorite campus organizations. Your school bookstore should sell planners at low prices. If you would rather venture off-campus to purchase one, Wal-Mart is also a cost-efficient option for planners. Ria Gerring enjoys the thrill of filling up her planner at the beginning of the school year. “I use different color highlighters to mark important due dates”, she says. She also puts Post-It notes on certain pages, as a reminder to read that day’s planner entry. Ria says her efforts to plan have helped her succeed in classes.

The most important thing to remember about starting college is that the ends definitely justify the means. Though there may be days when you feel like you are drowning in piles of paperwork, you will learn to understand that graduation day will come sooner than you think. Through the years, your biggest problem will go from not having enough quarters to do laundry to the day of graduation to not having a job waiting for you in the real world. Enjoy these four years! They will fly by once you get the hang of things. Have fun. Make lifelong friends. Join clubs. And remember to do the thing your parents want you to do most at college, LEARN!

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