College is the best years of your life. Well, they can be, or they can be a black hole of fast food, late-night studying, and crippling debt. After completing my final semester of university, I started to think about the last four years and how they transformed my life. I also thought about those who didn’t make it through or were so stressed that the word ‘exam’ or ‘quiz’ would send them to a near nervous breakdown. I certainly wasn’t a genius entering or exiting college, so how was I able to be successful? I narrowed it down to three things that every student should try to do when entering college. These seem to be true regardless of the size of the school, your major, or your aspirations.
No Class or Grade Defines You
This seems to be a major problem in university. There is always the one class that everyone fears, or the one grade everyone gets that makes them feel inferior. You look around at all of the students excelling in the same class you are drowning and wonder why you can’t do what they are doing. You didn’t fail a test because you aren’t capable of learning the material; it was probably just stress, a lack of sleep, not eating a balanced breakfast, or the fact you had to pour 120 dollars into your car to fix it. Always look at new studying methods: tutoring, group study, and even a new professor or even a new college before you give up on a class. This may sound extreme, but it’s true. Sometimes all it takes is the right method or professor to make the material sink in. Some students thrive at prominent universities; some need a small intimate environment. Bad grades can be just as big of a learning experience. Exhaust every option before giving up, and sometimes, a failed chemistry class will make you realize you are more suited for law school instead of medical school. Sometimes, it just takes longer to sink in, but that is okay. People who stick with it and learn through the struggles won’t take it for granted.
You Pay the Professor to Learn
Let me start by saying I don’t think any professor deserves to be yelled at or told it is their job to give certain grades or the classic “I pay you, you work for me” when they fail a big test they neglected to study for. However, professors are there because they have immense knowledge on the subject and are there to transfer that knowledge or insight to you. Paying several thousand dollars and not exploiting what a professor knows is like paying for VIP Tickets for a concert and standing in the back of the stadium anyway. Find professors who can relate the knowledge to you, and always look to understand the material. So many students leave college wondering what exactly they paid for. This isn’t about sucking up to the teacher for a grade. It is about learning about the subjects you are passionate about. Ask questions, don’t be afraid to get your money’s worth. If being surrounded by professors with a profound education in your desired field doesn’t get you excited, it’s impossible to justify spending the money. You are paying for the credits and the paper, but you get access to great minds, and it’s easy to forget that. Don’t be afraid to get your money’s worth.
This seems to be the hardest one to grasp. Some students have no problem with this one, as college turns into a ten-year endeavor with a lot of partying and not a lot of acquired credits. Some students are diligent and are ready to handle their business without the allure of the college party scene or lifestyle. I’m not telling anyone to do anything outside of their comfort zone, but just to have fun. It’s okay to unwind, step back from the textbook and go to the party with your friends. Disconnecting from the academic world is sometimes a key ingredient to succeeding in it. The problem isn’t skipping the study session to go to that huge party. The problem is knowing when to put off the studying and when to put off the partying. See a movie; most universities show free ones from time to time. Take a walk, meet up with some friends, and have some fun.