Now that you are in college, you can go out and have a drink at night and, in some cases, set your own curfew. It is very important to be responsible and manage your time wisely. It is easy to be carried away when no one is there to monitor your activities. Of course, most dormitories have resident assistants that keep tabs on your activities, but not to the extent that your parents did.
It is very important for college students to stay focused on their education. True enough, you need a social outlet, but it is important to refrain from being caught up in the hype of fraternity or sorority parties, or any college parties for that matter. Almost every weekend, there will be a party or social event. You are responsible for keeping up your grades and maintaining a balance between your academic and social life. When friends knock on your door, inviting you to join them for drinks, kindly refuse-let them know you are studying. If they insist, just say no. You will have to pay the consequences for your failing grades.
Having a negative relationship with the instructor
Forgetting your instructor’s name, correcting his mistakes, and confronting him in a negative manner will rapidly get you nowhere. It helps to sit in the front of the class and at least appear attentive. Nodding your head and making eye contact with the instructor are always winning gestures. Most instructors take notice of this and are usually impressed. Many of them keep this in mind when deciding on whether to grant that extra point to turn a C into a B, or to make a failing grade a passing grade. The same political and interpersonal skill you adapt in college will be valuable in your professional life.
“Suffering in silence” when you don’t a clue what to do in the classroom
Many times, we spend a substantial amount of time studying and still fail. Each instructor has his own technique for grading papers.
You should always start each class prepared to ask questions about the previous lecture or about what you read in your textbook. Make a list of questions when you review your notes and read your textbook.
Most instructors have office hours. These are the hours that they are available to assist you. During these hours, you may discuss with them your concerns about the subject you are studying or areas that you do not understand or cannot grasp. You can get help or advice, or both, in preparing for tests and writing term papers. Most instructors usually require that you schedule an appointment. Your instructor is there to help you, not watch you fail. Be proactive and present your concerns to your instructor on the front-end, not the back-end when it is too late.
Mismanagement of your time and responsibilities
In college, you will have to adjust to completely unfamiliar routines. Some of these changes include late-night or early-morning studying, different class schedules, sleeping in a college dorm, and grocery shopping on your own. Success in college requires motivation. You will also have to learn to overcome procrastination, if it is a concern. You must be clear about what you want in life and how you plan to achieve it. Many colleges offer services at their learning centers that focus on research skills, group study skills, and time management skills. Some schools even send academic counselors to residence halls so students can get immediate help without leaving the dormitory. It is important to have a daily schedule of activities.
You should set a time for breakfast, exercise, lunch, studying, snacks, research, lab time, campus activities, socializing, relaxation, and dinner. Your schedule for Monday may be different from your schedule for Thursday. But at least, you understand the difference and have written it down. You may have more classes on certain days and fewer on other days. You may want to capitalize on the extra time by spending more time studying on those days that you have fewer classes. It is important to prioritize your responsibilities, needs, and interests; and learn to say no to distractions.
Waiting until the last minute and doing an “all-nighter”
Time management is extremely important when preparing for assignments, tests, and research projects. Waiting until the last minute can cause extreme anxiety, panic and information overload, as well as failure on your tests. Succeeding in college takes a lot of self-control and discipline. It is important to believe that you are a self-starter; be determined to overcome procrastination.
Standing up your study group
You should establish or join a study group. There is power in numbers, and other members of the group may have access to notes and information that you missed. They can also help clarify notes. Studying with others can be very motivating. Your group can develop a list of possible test questions and brainstorm on the answers. When studying with your group, be sure to keep up with your responsibilities.
Most study groups delegate questions to the group members. If the group has ten questions to solve, and the group consists of five members, each member should solve two questions. Then the group puts all the answers together, and all ten questions will be solved in less than twenty percent of the time it would take for you to solve the problems on your own. If you are responsible for finding the answers to two or three questions before the group meets again, be sure to follow through.
Trying to be a trooper and ignoring major injuries
Whether you play sports for your college or not, if you suffer from an injury you should seek professional medical help. The key word here is professional. You may be capable of nursing most of your own wounds, but a medical professional should be sought when in doubt.
There is nothing worse than being sick while at college. You can call your mom for advice, but unless she is nearby, you’re stuck. It is best to learn about diseases that occur commonly among students. You need to learn about diseases that are contagious, how to prevent spreading and catching them, and how to treat them.
Some of the most common health concerns are allergies, sinus problems, headaches, abdominal problems, athlete’s foot, burns, and depression.
Enrolling in online classes before its time
Online learning requires a substantial amount of discipline. This method of education is usually recommended for working professionals. If you are not self-motivated to complete assignments, then an online environment is probably not the best place for you.
First of all, before enrolling in an online course, you need to do a thorough self-assessment. You should ask yourself the following questions and be completely honest with yourself.
- Are you a disciplined learner?
- Do you wait until the last minute to study for tests?
- Do you wait until the last minute to complete assignments?
- Would you be more comfortable with face-to-face interactions with your instructor?
- Do you need a more hands-on classroom-learning environment?
- Do you prefer face-to-face interactions with peers in an intimate classroom setting?
It takes a substantial amount of maturity to successfully complete online courses. First of all, the instructor gives you assignments, and you complete them at your own pace, in an independent manner, outside of the classroom setting. You are responsible for motivating yourself to keep up with the pace in which the instructor conducts the class and gives assignments.
Spending money that you don’t have
When dating, consider going Dutch. You can save a lot of money when someone else splits the bill with you. Society has taught us that men generally pay the bills, but there is a big difference in the pocketbooks of a full-time employee and a college student.
Consider dating on campus. Many colleges have their own movie theatres, concert halls, and auditoriums. They also have their own campus band, symphony orchestra, dance troupes, and drama clubs that give performances right on campus. This will help you save a bundle of money.
Don’t be afraid to dine away from campus. Just do it in moderation. I have compiled a list of dirt-cheap restaurants that won’t cause too much damage to a college student’s wallet.
Borrowing too much money
Do not borrow more money than the worth of your degree. Why borrow $100,000 when you plan on becoming an artist? You would be better off borrowing this amount for the purpose of pursuing a medical degree. With a career as a medical doctor, you will probably earn enough money to repay the loan in the future. You may or may not end up getting a full-time job as an artist. Yet, you will have to repay the loan. Be sure to track your debt.
Focusing too much on love and forgetting your grades
Maintaining a love relationship while simultaneously trying to keep up with your grades, your involvement in extracurricular activities, and your social life can be very stressful. College requires the balancing of all these activities. If your love relationship is not going very well, will it affect your academic success? Can you successfully keep the two separate, not allowing one to affect the other? Will academic struggles affect your love relationship? You are in college to earn a degree, not to fall in love. It is usually best to focus on the bottom line.
When you are involved in a love relationship, you will find yourself having to meet your partner’s demands. This can be very stressful when you are trying to meet the many demands of college. As a single person, you can prioritize your time based on what is important to you, not someone else.
Waiting until the last minute to check your financial aid package and running out of money
College is expensive. Every aspect of college is expensive-from tuition, books, and sports, to meals, fraternal organizations, and dating. Many student centers offer employment opportunities for college students to work as tutors. This can be a great source of income.
Tuitions and fees have risen dramatically over the past fifteen years. It is important to research all available forms of financial aid, including scholarships; grants; and possibly, loans. You may qualify for scholarships that you never even heard of. There are scholarships out there that are offered to the offspring of U.S. veterans, and the offspring of members of various social clubs.
Letting a disability get you down
Students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders are increasingly enrolling in two- and four-year colleges. Several colleges offer special services for students with disabilities, such as, help with study skills, organizational skills, and tutoring services. If you have one of these disorders, it is important to be fully knowledgeable about your learning style and how to compensate for deficits. You must also understand your strengths and weaknesses. Recent legislation has made it easier to succeed in college regardless of a disability.
Letting Down your guard at college parties
Try to always remain cognizant of the fact that we live in high technology world. Cameras are small enough to be hidden in pens and doorknobs. Cellular phones are equipped with cameras, camcorders, and tape recorders. It is extremely important to closely examine what you say and do and to use prudence.
Joining a sorority or fraternity before it’s time
Greek organizations are a major social outlet for many college students. They provide students with social support and a sense of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood.” Many of them require that their members participate in community service activities that encourage civic-mindedness. This can result in a feeling of higher self-worth. Before taking the leap into Greek life, do a self-assessment. You should be confident in your ability to manage your grades, while handling the rigors of pledging in a sorority or fraternity.