Here we go again. 2016 is not just the start to a brand new year, to new resolutions and workout missions, but also the start to the spring semester of college. It’s that time of the year where we realize break wasn’t quite long enough, maybe all that holiday eating wasn’t the best idea, and perhaps it’s even time to open up those dusty textbooks again. Although we would all rather be jetting off to somewhere tropical right about now with a piña colada in one hand (virgin of course) and a bottle of sun tan lotion in the other, it’s time to face reality. But, that doesn’t mean we have to face it alone… so I have come up with 10 survival tips to get you through this next semester in college.
- Starbucks. The word and the meaning have never meant as much to me as they do now. As a Barrett student, there’s a cafe about 30ft from my dorm and a Starbucks truck right around the corner. It’s not an addiction, it’s a necessity.
- Hayden library. Just like anyone, I slowly and admittedly quite reluctantly, had to get use to the idea of staying up till midnight in the library. But, I learned that just like anything in life, where there is a negative, there is a positive waiting to happen. I started forming study groups and going on study dates, and it made the whole process that much more bearable. However, I do have to warn you about the inevitability of your study session turning into nothing other than one big social hour. So, I recommend choosing who you go to the library with wisely because if you actually want to accomplish some work and talk about more than what you did last night, than trust me, it matters. But, if I do say so myself, college libraries are like the 2.0 versions of high school libraries. We went from 24/7 quiet zones and eating practically being a sin to everything goes. So, snaps to college. But moral of the story, it’s important to get your work done, so make sure the people that you’re with have the same goal in mind.
- The give and take ratio. I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to procrastinate and to not go out because I know that’s unrealistic. However, I also know that college is hard. College demands a lot from us, whether it’s the work hours and effort we have to put in behind the scenes or the classes we have to attend. But, we also have to remember to take care of ourselves, and that we are the only ones who can. Hence, the give and take ratio. We give a lot to go to school, whether it’s time, energy, money, etc. However, it’s up to you and only you to decide what you’ll take. The time you’ll take for yourself to do that one guilty pleasure you love, take an extra nap because you know your body needs it, or stay in for a night because you know it could be the difference between an A or a B on that test tomorrow. It’s up to you how balanced your ratio is.
- Sleep. What a wonderful thing. But also the thing that can make us certifiably crazy without it. I know sometimes it’s hard to get a full night’s worth when you have 3 back-to-back tests the next day and hours of studying upon you, but it’s just something we need to keep as a priority even when it feels like it’s not. Sleep is what keeps us going.. you can only make it so far in your day before sleep deprivation catches up with you. You can try to mask it with all the coffee and sugar you want, but underneath it all, it’s all about planning better and making sure sleep stays at the top of your to-do list.
- Study buddies. It is imperative that in your classes, especially those you may be struggling in, that you make friends (especially with the smart kids, just kidding). They can be your go-to’s for questions, problem solvers, and even the people you struggle with into success. I couldn’t imagine going through any of my classes truly alone. These people, your friends, they are your resources and your support systems, just as you are theirs. I dare you to be the first to introduce yourself… you might surprise yourself.
- Join an organization or club. I know we are all busy with school and with life in general, but for me, being apart of something bigger than who I am has been an incredible experience thus far, and I would wish that feeling for anyone.
- Exercise. All the homework, tests, quizzes, projects, and the drama that comes along with friends and college can be stressful from time to time. One of the best remedies is simply to workout. Whether that means going for a run, taking a cycling class (my choice personally), or doing workout videos. All I can say is, they call it the “Freshman 15”, but I am pretty sure it can hit you at any stage in your college career, so be careful.
- Get organized. One of the best things you can do for yourself this semester is keep up with your planner. It seems like such a simple task, but still, I get texts all the time asking if an assignment is really due at 11:59pm when it’s 11:30pm. And my favorite, when a professor asks to collect the homework or announces it’s time for the test, and the person next to me looks like they are about to puke. Trust me, it isn’t worth it… being that person just sounds like the definition of stressed. So, try to become a little bit of an expert when it comes to course assignments and due dates. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Surround yourself with the right people.
“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.” -Colin Powell
I love this quote… said so perfectly. Inserting yourself around people who are positive, driven, motivated, and want everything out of life are the people who will push you to be better. But, I agree with Colin, work hard and play hard. There’s always room for a balance, just like the give and take ratio. May your work be meaningful, but may your life be too.
- Lastly, one that resonates close to home, make time for your family. I know college is one exciting moment after the next, and it’s hard to leave that behind for a day or two. But, all I can say is, family is forever and college is just for four years. There’s no doubt in my mind that we shouldn’t soak up these four years, but making memories and traditions with the people we love back home… that’s a really special thing. So, whether it’s for a little R’nR, a weekend occasion trip, or to please your mother, I guarantee they miss you plenty too.
Ps. good luck with your semester!!