College is a stressful time. Most freshmen are 17 or 18 and are alone in the world for the first time. We collected tips to make it through just a little bit easier. Remember your mileage may vary, but becoming adaptable is what being an adult is all about.
There is no handbook for life, it just seems like everyone else got a copy but you missed yours. Here are our top ten college life pro Tips.
Start Acting like an Adult
You’re an adult now. You don’t have to ask to leave the room. Professors don’t care if you leave and come back as long as you don’t interrupt – putting your hand up to ask is interrupting and it can be a little embarrassing if you stop a lecture to get permission to go to the bathroom.
Talk to Your Professors
Be friendly with your professors and learn to send short, friendly emails. Those two things are as important as learning. Networking with your professors helps later when it comes time to get recommendation letters and help entering a field.
Be an Active Learner
Professors love it when you’re active in class without being long-winded or over-explaining your question. The best classes to fight with your professors are the Socratic Method classes. Read the material and argue a point, learn the logic and fight them again. Most Professors love it because it adds variety to their life.
Avoid Mandatory Attendance
Avoid classes with mandatory attendance if you can. Especially with younger professors, they are the ones most likely to be stringent about the rules. If you have a mandatory attendance rate, they will most likely be willing to give you some leeway if you have been an active participant. They (mostly) want you to pass.
Schedule Your Work
Make a schedule and check it every single morning. If you can stay ahead of where you need to be in classes it takes the pressure off. If you can produce an assignment immediately after it is assigned it makes life easier. Even if you have it completely wrong, many professors will send it back with what needs to be changed for a better grade. Assignments always scale up at midterm and finals weeks, being able to have large amounts of work done fast makes your experience so much better.
Hit the Gym
There is a gym at your school and it is free for you to use. (At most schools its already paid for!) Take this opportunity to use the gym. This is the best place to relieve stress and get away from your computer, from sitting down, and it is a hell of a lot better then hit the bars to calm yourself.
Join Some Clubs!
Check out your major’s club first and join it. This will help get you connections outside of college. Officers of the club also look great on a resume. Then check out the social clubs that interest you. Sports, D&D, cosplay, hackers, go in with a good attitude and make some friends and do some interesting things.
Wash Your Own Clothes
Make laundry day a group event. In the dorms there are usually about 10 washers and dryers. Grab some friends on a week day and have a study session. It is better than waiting for clothes alone. Some people will pull your clothes out and drop them on the ground if you don’t watch them a little.
DO NOT BUY YOUR TEXTBOOKS YET!
Unless your professor emailed the class to get the textbook(s), wait until the first day of classes. It is always best to see if you can use a pdf, used copy, or you might not need one at all. This tip saved me a few thousand dollars when I was in College.
College isn’t about partying
Sure it is nice to go out and have a nice time, but remember that you are investing in your career. Missing a single class costs around $100. Failing a class means you just threw away thousands of dollars. Fail enough to be expelled and you just went into debt to party. Frankly, there are better parties than the ones at college.
Extra Life Pro Tip: Use the system to your advantage
I learned that submitting papers with file names formatted this way ( [classname] _lastname_paper ), the first bracket will make your file appear first for the professor when files are sorted by alphabetical order, like when the professor is going through his folder to grade. I started doing this because a computer science professor preferred it and then several of my other professors made it mandatory.