College. The chapter of our lives we dream about since our elementary school years. It is also the biggest let down of my childhood dreams. College is nothing like it seems in your fantasies and definitely not what it seems in the eyes of Hollywood. Not to put a whole downer on the entire college experience. I truly am going to miss going to school in the clothes I found on my floor on my way out the door. Once I receive my diploma, which is essentially my golden ticket into the big adult world, I will be biding my sweatpants and leggings farewell.
Your older siblings and friends can tell you all there is to know about college, but you will never truly understand what it’s like until you experience it yourself. It is the best and worst years of your life. College pushes you past your limits and breaks you into the adult you are truly meant to be. Cheesy, I know, but true. My time at college takes home the gold for the most intense, crazy rollercoaster I have ever been on—mind you, that’s big of me to say since I’m an adrenaline junkie who has been to quite a few amusement parks—but college sure takes the cake on this one, no contest. If you thought high school molded you into an adult, you’re in for a big surprise. I am nowhere near the person I was when I was in high school, for the better I might add. College was a big responsibility wake up call. It’s a call no one is ever ready for, but eventually we have to pick up that phone and answer to the big, scary world on the other end.
College is a whole different world. You pay for your classes now, so you’re responsible to make it worth your money. You no longer have people telling you what classes to take. You’re in a totally different environment, surrounded by an almost completely different group of people. Most of your friends from high school slowly become just a friend on Facebook who you once knew that are onto new chapters in their life. You are now your own boss. Say goodbye to the hand was once holding yours for the past 18 years, guiding you towards the right direction.
It’s not as scary as it seems. At times yes, it can be a bit overwhelming. Expectations are always shot down if you believe college is a non-stop party. You’re smart though. If you play your cards right and take control of your own life, you’ll be just fine. You might even enjoy your college experience.
Now, I’m not licensed college counselor but I have acquired a solid set of tips to surviving college throughout the past three and a half years. Though everyone has a different college experience, I feel these tips can apply to anyone. If you have any college tips of your own that really helped you, comment them below to share with the Sprightly family!
Sprightly Tip #576: Trust no one.
College is the real-life Hunger Games, it’s everyone for themselves. Yes, counselors are there to help aide you when needed, however, they are dealing with more kids than the parents of Cheaper by the Dozen. They do not have time to hold your hand and guide you step-by-step. I know of many people who have been turned in the wrong direction only to realize they are headed toward a cliff too little, too late. Use your counselors, professors, and classmates as a tool to gain perspective and tips. Do not use them as a crutch. They are not you, they cannot give you the solid advice you are looking for. There comes a time when you have to make decisions for yourself. What worked for me was planning out my classes on a master schedule and meeting with my counselor twice a semester, once at the beginning and once towards the end, to check-in and make sure I am on track for graduation! (Photo credits: Tenor)
Sprightly Tip #4: Avoid retail therapy.
THIS IS YOUR CONSCIENCE . WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED. STEP AWAY FROM THE PRETTY, SHINY OBJECT. YOU DO NOT NEED IT. Retail therapy is not the answer to your academic stress problems. The 25 percent off sale at Urban Outfitters is clouding your judgement. Wake up and smell the 99 cent ramen you’ve been eating for the past two weeks because you spent your money on that “dad hat” from Topshop because Drake was wearing the exact same one in US Weekly. College forces you to learn the hard way that money really isn’t unlimited and that grocery shopping on a budget is a nightmare you can’t pinch yourself awake from. (Photo credits: Tumblr)
Sprightly Tip #10: Stay in school.
Academic freedom does not mean freedom from academics. Congratulations, in college you are now in charge of your own schedule and have the freedom to decide if you want to show up for class or not. I caution you to beware of the academic freedom privilege, for if you get too comfortable with not going to class, you will not be able to keep up with the material you missed. It may seem cool to ditch and have no consequences of a phone call home, but missing one college class equals to about a week’s worth of material. Besides flexible hours, the difference between college and high school is that you’re paying to be in class. Every cent you spend counts towards your degree. If you fail a couple classes due to ditching, that just means your time in school will be extended, which means more money. Not only are you wasting money, but you’re also wasting time. Time that could’ve been spent looking for a job as a recent graduate instead of having to retake a lower-division english course. (Photo credits: Giphy)
Sprightly Tip #201: Organization is key.
Though fall semester is nearing it’s end, there is still time to get organized for the following semester. Maintaining an organized workspace and environment will increase your academic success. Being disorganized and messy can increases stress levels and can cause you to lose important paperwork. Make a habit of leaving one day dedicated to cleaning out your backpack of old material, organizing papers, and updating your planner. If you don’t have a planner I highly suggest you purchase one. With all the classes and extracurriculars, a planner will help you get organized and prioritize your studies. (Photo credits: Tenor)
Sprightly Tip #87: Networks = Lifeline
In this world, it’s all about who you know. Branding your name at your school is very beneficial. Make yourself known to all the professors in your major, for they can give you an amazing recommendation letter. Befriend classmates in every single one of your classes. Get yourself involved in university-oriented organizations like student government. The more connections you make on campus the better your college experience will be. Classmates will give you insight on courses and professors you have not had yet. Professors can give you career advice and even help you find jobs. University involvement will become a strong part of your resume for future employers. Get out on campus and spread your name like wildfire! (Photo credits: Imgur)
Sprightly Tip #406: Laughter is the cure to insanity.
I wish I could say you won’t go through some tough times in college. I wish I could guarantee that you will never experience very dark and low points. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is you will experience stress at levels you have never thought possible. Just know, it doesn’t have to be all dark and gloomy like the Evanescence “Bring me to life” music video. It’s all about how you approach your stress from the start. Keep organized in your planner so you can see your tough weeks up ahead. This way you will have time to prepare and attack that week at the perfect angle. I found that in times of stress, I try not to think of it as a whole. One step at a time. Help keep your mood light and relaxed by indulging in some comedic entertainment. Whether it be a funny movie, book, or youtube video; get yourself to laugh, or at least smile. Use your study breaks to ease the tension. Do not think about all that you have on your to-do list. (Photo credits: Giphy)
Sprightly Tip #23: Ivy league or not, UC or not… LOVE YOUR SCHOOL!
Your school is a part of what makes you who you are. Own it! Your school will essentially be all that you are for the time you are there. It will teach you many things about yourself. You will make memories there that you will remember down to the last detail even years after you’ve graduated. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about your school. This is your experience, not theirs. No matter your school, no matter your major; be proud of where you got your education. Also, never compare schools because each offers a different experience. This is yours and that is theirs. (Photo credits: Gifs.com)
Sprightly Tip #27: Paging Dr. CVS Pharmacy!
Welcome to the world of self-medication. Now don’t go popping pills, hear me out. You are on your own now. Mommy isn’t there to wait on you, hand and foot, as she calls you out of school. You can’t skip class on account that your nose is a bit runny or you feel a sore-throat coming on. Of course, stay in bed when the cold really takes form. Forcing yourself to endure your normal weekly schedule won’t cut it if you’re coughing like you’ve got bronchitis. Also, if you come to class you will not only make yourself worse but you will spread the unwanted germs to your peers. Take care of yourself before you make matters worse. Go to the drugstore and carefully take the appropriate dosage. Do not experiment by mixing medications. Do your research. If you’re truly unsure, call your doctor to get advice. (Photo credits: WiffleGif)
Sprightly Tip #164: It’s all about portion control.
Keep an eye on your portions. By that I mean maintain a healthy balance of diet, workload, and exercise. Don’t tunnel vision on just one aspect of your life because before you know it the others will start to falter. Preparing, planning, and scheduling will be your key tools to maintaining these three aspects in your college lifestyle. Meal-prep your foods at the beginning of the week to ensure your portion control and healthy diet. Plan your classes ahead of time and in quantities you can handle. Schedule in 30 minutes to an hour, at least 3 times a week, to do some sort of physical activity. (Photo credits: The Style Studies)
Sprightly Tip #331: ⚠️Mistakes allowed beyond this point.
Even with the countless blogs out there providing tips about college, you will fall down sometimes. Mistakes are encouraged. Obviously don’t purposefully try and screw up, but don’t beat yourself up over a grade too much. Everything happens for a reason. I’m not saying to cheer over a bad grade, but realize that college is hard. You are being tested like you never have been before. Being hard on yourself will only make you stressed past normal reason. No one is perfect. Work from the mistakes you made. That mistake was a sign that something you are doing isn’t right, review the situation and reassess. For a bad grade, seek help from your professor, counselor, or tutor. Your school provides you with many tools to help you on your journey to graduation. Professors don’t want to fail you, though sometimes it may seem like it. They want you to succeed just as much as you do, if not more. They see the potential you have. If you fall down, get back up and try again. College is structured to improve your strong suits and strengthen your weaknesses. (Photo credits: Imgur)