Ten Ways To Survive College

It’s hard to believe that my college graduation was almost two months ago. I feel like it just happened.

Graduation 2

After spending five years in college*, I’ve learned a thing or two on how to get through it and not freak out.

Remember when I wrote that guest post for Tina on how to Stay Healthy and Sane While Living a Hectic Life? Well, along those same lines, here are ten tips and tricks for surviving college. Feel free to add your own advice in the comment section! :-) 

  1. You don’t need to read everything your professor assigns you. When I first started college in 2005, I was overwhelmed with the hundreds of pages of required reading. I thought my professors were nuts. How could I possibly read 700 pages in three days? Easy! Don’t. What I learned? Skimming is OK. Read what you feel is the most important, and move on.
  2. Procrastinating leads to that end-of-the-semester freak-out phase. Don’t do it. Get assignments done early, and then while everyone around you is freaking out, you can find comfort in the fact that you’re already done.
  3. Class Presentations are not the end of the world. Nobody wants to do them. Nobody is paying attention anyway. If you stutter or forget what you were talking about, nobody is going to care, or remember it later. Your classmates are not going to sit down to lunch with their friends later in the day, and say, “Oh, that Rebecca sure sucks at presenting things!” Nobody is going to remember your presentation except for your professor. Just do it, and get it over with.
  4. If you get to pick when you do your presentation, sign up for the first day! If you’re choosing the last day to fight anxiety, you’re only stressing yourself out more. Here’s why: standards for presenting are lower on the first day, because no one is sure what the professor is expecting. If you wait until the last day, your presentation will have to be as good, or better than the ones before you. Also, if you go on the first day, you won’t have to think about it anymore. You’ll get to sit back, and watch everyone else nervously present.
  5. Don’t feel guilty for having a social life. Yes, you have essays to write, and tests to study for, but going out to dinner on a Saturday night with a friend isn’t going to hurt you. I used to feel so guilty for doing things that weren’t school-related on the weekends. But guess what, I got through each and every semester. Professors understand that you have a life outside of school.
  6. Set internal deadlines. So that paper is due two weeks from now? Tell yourself it’s due next week instead. That’s how I got through multiple 3,000 word essays in a semester. If it helps, use Google calendar to sort everything out.
  7. Don’t worry about everything all at once. I fell into this trap A LOT while I was in school. I knew I had 17 assignments due at the end of November, but it was only September 1st. How could I possibly get everything done? I thought. Relax. You’ll get through everything. Just set internal deadlines, write to-do lists, and don’t procrastinate, and you’ll be fine. Concentrate on what you have to do from day-to-day, not everything you have to do in a month.
  8. Write to-do lists for assignments. This, by far, is one of my best pieces of advice. I LOVE to-do lists. I especially love crossing things off of them. At the end of semester, I look back at my overall list of assignments, and take pride in the fact I accomplished so much.
  9. It’s OK to skip class every once in a while. You probably already know this, but you do not need to be sick to skip class. This isn’t high school. Usually, your professor allows you a set number of unexcused absences. Key word here: unexcused–meaning you don’t need any excuse at all to lay in bed all day on Twitter.
  10. Never be afraid to talk to your professors. You know how I said number eight was one of my best pieces of advice? Well, this is number one (even though it’s all the way at the end). I formed relationships with my advisor and almost all of my journalism professors. In fact, many of them read this blog. A lot of them knew about my surgery in October. And, I’ve counted on almost all of them for letters of recommendation. So why is it so important to get to know your professors? Easy.They can’t help you if you don’t talk to them. Believe it or not, they are not out to get you. They are people, too, and understand that life is stressful. If you feel you are in danger of failing a class, or not finishing an assignment, trust me when I tell you that your issue will probably be 99.9% resolved if you just talk to your professor.

And there you have it! My last piece of advice? Relax, you’ll be fine!

*I majored in journalism and English, so this post is very reading/writing focused.

Are you in college? What do you think is the hardest part?

If you’re a college graduate, can you offer any other advice to college students?

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I’m a College Graduate…

And I have pictures to prove it!


Graduation 2

It still hasn’t hit me. I don’t think it will for another month, or until my actual diploma comes in the mail. 

In case you’re wondering, I did complete all of my assignments before the ceremony. That was my goal. Though it was stressful at the time, I knew I’d get through it. And, that’s my advice for those of you are not done with your semesters yet, and are stressing about the assignments you still have to complete, and the tests you still need to take: You will get through it.

I have been taking college classes since September 2005. In the beginning, I let each semesters’ work get to me. After the fourth or fifth, I finally told myself:

You’ve been in this place before. This is a semester just like others you have completed. In a couple months, weeks, days, you’ll be looking back on how stressed you were, and will wonder why you were ever that stressed to begin with. This one paper or test, no matter how many pages it has to be, or how hard you think it is, is not the end of the world. You will get through this.

Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was stressful. But I did it, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

My last class is today (yes, my graduation ceremony took place before the last week of classes. Weird, I know).

I will be back to a regular blogging schedule in a couple days.

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