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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

Welcome to my school series!

When I first began college in the Fall of 2017, I was confused, to be honest. Being a first-generation college student is terrifying, you do not know what to expect and really are pretty much on your own. That is why I am writing this after my break from the blog. I had to take time off from writing due to personal reasons. Here are the top ten things I wish I knew before my freshman year of college!

1. Always write down all your due dates at the beginning of the semester

I cannot stress how important this is, I did not have a planner for my first semester of college, I never used one in high school so I presumed I would not use it. Boy was I wrong, the number of assignments you lose track of without a planner is insane especially if you are a full-time student. High school never stressed the amount of responsibility you need to maintain your GPA.

2. Schedule classes according to your schedule ESPECIALLY if you are a commuter

Commuters out there, I understand your struggle! My first semester was at my local community college which mean I drove daily. If you are a commuter to classes, be sure to book the classes for starting at 9AM or 2PM. Most people end up booking their classes for 10AM so in my situation I never found a parking space unless I got there prior to 9:30. This does depend on your situation but it is something to take note of if you know you will not be living in a dorm.

3. No matter your prerequisites, be sure to take one fun class each semester

This is extremely important when it comes to college. After I got out of high school, all I wanted to do was get the prerequisites out of the way with no electives tailored to my schedule. DO NOT DO THIS. When going to class, you probably will not be interested in most of the required courses so having one fun course integrated into your schedule is so important. It gives you something to look forward to no matter if you do not truly care for your other courses!

4. Never be afraid to email your professors for help

A mistake I never made but saw happen numerous amounts of times is not feeling comfortable enough to contact your professors when you need help. Having good communication with your professor comes in handy when you can not understand the material. The professors are more genuine in helping you if they already know you better as a person rather than just a student. Plus this is great if you ever need letters of recommendation.

5. Check your grades once a week

Now you may be thinking, why is this a tip? You have no idea how many people I have met in college who NEVER check their grades. Yes, your grades can be terrifying, however, not knowing what they are is a bad decision. I really can not stress this aspect of college or school in general.

6. Follow the syllabus 

DO NOT BE STUCK IN THE HIGH SCHOOL MINDSET. Throwing away syllabus’ is the WORST thing you can do in a college class especially if your professor does not post it online. Save yourself the trouble and keep a folder for every class so you will never lose it. My professor last semester followed the syllabus to a “T” and never put it online. While she was my first professor to do this, I still believe you should not lose your syllabus just in case.

7. Go to class

Skipping will happen and did happen a few times during my freshman year. However, there seems to be an idea that floats around that in college, the professors do not take attendance so it will not hurt to skip. Eight out of my ten classes my freshman year took attendance for a grade. Professors know you will skip and give you a couple free days, but it is not worth it in the long run.

8. Stress is inevitable so find your happy place

Having a happy place when it comes to midterms and finals is extremely important. Stress will happen during your four years of college especially during your freshman year so having a place you can go to in your mind to calm yourself will be so helpful in the long run. And, this does not always come to you immediately, take your time and figure out your way to de-stress, trust me it is a life saver!

9. Choose a major you love but also look into it

As someone who has not officially declared a major, I have spent hours upon hours of thinking about what I want to do and still do not know. That is okay, we all go through that, but when you decide a major be sure to look into the future employment statistics. When you find your perfect major, you should go for it, just be willing to struggle to strive in that major if it is hard to find employment in it.

10. Use Rate my Professors, it will save you

This website is a godsend when it comes to choosing your future classes and professors, no one tells you but always look up your professors on there. Their previous students can tell you a lot about what you need to be prepared for. Without this website, my freshman year would not have been so simple.

I hope that these tips will help you on your journey! Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a wonderful day and can not wait to see you in my next post! 

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