The Top 10 Things Freshmen Should Know About College: Part I

Having just graduated from college myself, I know a thing or two about getting through 4 years of post-secondary schooling. While there are a lot of tricks and nuances to the game, there are much more important overarching issues that every freshman should know. If you master these traits early on in your college career, I guarantee that you will look back on everything with great admiration for what you accomplished.

10. Can’t Wait Until the Last Minute – So you were a procrastinating stud back in high school. You got all A’s purely off your charisma and ability to study everything you needed to know the night before the test or quiz. Well, things don’t work like that in college. Sure, you can definitely review all of the content, know the basic reasoning for the most important issues, and be aware of what is going to be on the test and what is not, but in college the test work you a little differently. Some professors like to hone in on a single issue and make the majority of the test mainly about that single issue. Some professors like to spread the focus of their test very thinly, and cover an array of topics but only address the more precise concerns of those topics. And some professors just like to focus their tests on something that you never considered preparing for. They’re just tricky like that. So your best approach is to study all week, and make sure you know what’s going on after every class so that you aren’t playing catch up the night before.

9. Can’t Do Everything Too Early – While doing things too late can hurt you academically, doing things too early can hurt you personally. While it’s nice to try and get ahead of all of your work, it’s an entirely possible feat. The work just keeps coming and coming, and the truth is, you never know when you will be assigned something new. While every professor prides themselves on staying in conjunction with their syllabi, they rarely do so without adjustments, and daily chance assignments are never included. So my advice to you is to even your workload out, do things in moderation, and not press yourself so hard to get ahead of the pack.

8. Enjoy the Weekend, There’s Time on Sunday Night – Granted, I played football back in college, so I didn’t have much choice in whether or not to do all of my weekend homework on Sunday night. If I wasn’t at a game all day Saturday, then I was either working out or practicing, thereby dramatically shortening my weekend. But when I look back at the whole thing, I realize that even had I not been a football player, leaving my more mundane weekend homework for Sunday night was not such a dreadful practice. Because in my experience with weekends off, you really want to enjoy your Friday and Saturday and you want to be able to sleep in on Sunday. You want to be able to go to club, catch a performance during the day, and eat at your favorite restaurant. There is an assortment of things that you can do during the weekend that you will never be able to do during the week, so why not enjoy doing them? Trust me, if you schedule your classes so that you have a late start on Monday’s, you can stay up all night catching up on your weekend homework on Sunday night and it will never comeback to haunt you.

7. Network. Network. Network! – Networking is a very important part of college. Although I hate it because it requires you to introduce yourself to people for purely business and career related reasons, it is an absolute must if you intend on getting any help from alumni once you graduate. So get out of bed and go to Alumni lunch in, get as many business cards as you are capable of, and get on the first name basis with as many CEO’s and company presidents as you can, because they will be much more willing to help you with getting internships in jobs during school and after it.

6. Suck Up! – Sucking up is an art, and if you can master it, I absolutely believe that you can raise your entire college G.P.A. by .5 points! Trust me, it’s true, and I have proof! I can profile dozens of students that I graduated with who were willing to meet with professors, become buddies with graduate assistants and ask millions of questions about things they didn’t particularly care about, in order to put forth the illusion that they were truly interested in the professor’s subject matter. The truth is, most of these people could have cared less about academia and learning facts and subjects in their mandatory classes. They just wanted to get the best grade they could, and prevent themselves from getting a horrible grade in the case of a huge mistake. For example, I had a friend who was in good with the professor all semester. He had a weekly scheduled meeting with the professor, was good friends with the G.A., and even had a lunch with the professor to discuss the topics being taught in class. But when the midterm came around, he failed by a slight margin due to his paucity of concern for the class. But the second he got his grade back, he went to the professor, discussed his paper, acknowledged his weakness with the subject (which had been discussed before) and was assured that the midterm would not effect him if he could show significant improvement on the final (of which he was provided immense tutorship by the G.A. at the professor’s request). Needless to say, he got an A, and I got a B even though I passed the midterm and got the same grade as him on the final. I can’t even say I was surprised.

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