"College is one of the most exciting times of your life," they say. What you don't realize is that two weeks into your first year, you're binge watching Netflix trying to get over your hangover, eating last night's french fries and ignoring the notifications from your professors on upcoming assignments.
You're in college for a reason: academics, I hope. Bright-eyed and fresh-faced, you graduated senior year looking forward to the next chapter in your life. You hope for a successful year and are probably stressing about the rigor of your classes. But then, you walk in and meet your roommate. Then, your roommate introduces you to friends and you guys go to the welcome events at your school. You hear about a party that the Greeks are holding. Don't get me wrong, the social aspect of college is one of the most fun parts about being there, but you can't play hard if you don't work hard.
As a second-year, I’ve had my trials and errors, and can offer some advice to those of you who may wonder how to keep a good balance.
1. Get a planner.
Getting a planner will definitely help you to organize and clarify your thoughts. If I hadn't had my planner with me, I would have not survived during my first year. Almost everything was in there, from workshops and study sessions to formals and activity logs. That planner will be like the bible to you and sticking to it religiously will help you out big time.
2. Do your homework on the day it's assigned.
What most people tend to do with a block schedule is push their homework to the next day, because it isn’t due for two days. However, if you are on top of it, finishing your homework the day it is assigned is much better. You won’t have to worry about it, and it will be less pile up for the week.
3. Use a rewards system.
You think senior year was hard, and that all the social aspects of college are your reward. Well, you’re in for a treat. College is the real deal and you’re actually paying for these classes! Finish your worksheet before the weekend, and then reward yourself with going out that night or a night in with Netflix. Get your priorities straight and get that work out of the way.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people.
You are at a new school and probably don’t have your tight-knit group that you had in high school. Now is the time to find a supportive group who has your back. The people you befriend in college have a big influence on you as an individual, because you learn to grow with them and gain independence while also having them by your side.
5. Know that #FOMO is a thing, but don’t let it control your life.
We all know that the fear of missing out is a leading factor in people dismissing their responsibilities. Don’t be that person! Trust me, there will be plenty of times for you to have fun, you don’t need to go to everything. If you have assignments piling up and you simply don’t want to miss that party, you really need to get your priorities straight.
There are going to be many distractions in college, and you will fall for a lot of them. But you need to remind yourself why you’re here, and what you’re doing. Making friends, gaining independence and balancing a schedule are the hardest parts about moving away. But in order to convince yourself and your parents that this was a good choice, you need to prove it to them. The only way that we can play hard is if we work hard, too.
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