Thursday, March 28, 2013

College Guide to Maximizing the Collegiate Experience

Initially, I went in to college face forward, running before crawling. Needless to say, the important things weren't a priority. There are so many things I wish I did freshman year, so much advice I probably should have paid better attention to.  

Many times I catch myself wishing I could be that ambitious, curious about the world 17 year old girl again, but  time can't be reversed that way. All we can really do accept it, reconstruct how we look at certain things, and continue to live. The only time we ever have is now. College has been great experience for me thus far and I know that when I return I'll have a better idea of my purpose.  

I made the choice to go back to college, because I personally think it's necessary for me. As ready as I am to complete undergrad and as much as I have finally fixated my mind in scholar mode, I still have plenty of room to enjoy the rest of the ride. Therefore, in order for me to better navigate the next year or so, I came up with a few fundamental tips, mainly for incoming freshmen,  that I definitely plan to apply the next time around.  

As mentioned in a previous post, it is never too late to start over, rebuild a better foundation, and accomplished what wasn't achieved in the first place. 

  1. College is expensive...we all know that. Look at it as an investment.   Always be alert for scholarship opportunities. Ease the burden by researching and applying for as much funding as possible from different avenues.
  2. Study more than you have to. One of my professors encouraged us to do this. Students despised her bizarre teaching antics, but I grew to appreciate them. She made us think outside the box and understand that the world, beyond college, has so much information to offer.
  3. Create study groups of people who bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Not only does it alleviate the work load of studying alone, it allows you to have peers that are there to help when something doesn't make complete sense to you. 
  4. It is very cool to say no to parties from time to time. They will happen several times again, with the same faces in attendance at all of them. Valuable friends will never make you skip class, an assignment, or study session/important meeting for a party.  It's okay to have fun from time to time, but remember your main reason for being there is to get an education. Never forget that commonly overlooked fact.
  5. Do not get overly involved with one person.  Don't get me wrong, love is beautiful and I know many couples who met in college. However, it's still important that your social life is balanced between your friends and the person you're dating.  Furthermore,  If he/she doesn't motivate you to be a better person on all levels while you're in college, move on and focus on yourself until you attract the person who does.
  6. Safe sex or no sex, no exceptions. Read up on statistics of the STD /HIV and pregnancy rates of American college students; it will blow your mind and should scare you out of your boots.
  7. Network, networknetworkPut yourself out there by getting involved, finding groups that cater to your interest, and making appearances at different educational events, even if it means coming out of your own shell of comfort. It's not always about who you know; more often than not, it's about who knows you.  
  8. Breaks are good. Attend sporting events, plays, and different on-campus activities. Take time in the weekend to absorb the area with new friends, especially if you're an out-of-state student. It keeps the stress level down and allows your mind to stay refreshed.
  9. Find different ways to create income, even if it's just a part-time hustle on the weekends. It will teach good time management skills and allow you to get a good feel for independence.
  10. Stay focused and learn the art of tunnel vision.

In retrospect, I can honestly say that I am 1,000 x's more ecstatic about being a scholar of higher learning now than I was at 17.

♥ Chymere A.

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