The Ultimate Guide to College

<p>Me and some friends compiled some tips for all of you incoming freshmen! Feel free to add your thoughts to the list! </p>

<p>Academics</p>

<p>Course Selection: If your college allows you to "shop" around, definitely take advantage of it! The professor's teaching style can be equally important as the subject matter, and it is definitely worth your time to sit in on as many courses as you can to weed out the best. Ratemyprofessor only gets you so far...</p>

<p>Course Selection: Know the student handbook and course catalog like the back of your hand! Advisors at many schools are notoriously absent or ill-informed. This is especially true at large colleges. Know exactly which courses you need for your major, which courses fulfill elective requirements, and what is required of you every step of the way. If you know the rules that the college has put in writing, you can be your own advocate and ensure that you're never screwed by the beauracracy.</p>

<p>Studying: Buy noise cancellation headphones. Best investment I have ever made- I could study in the middle of my loud dorm and feel like I was on a deserted island with those things. They also happen to be very handy on airplanes when you are sitting next to a "Talker" ("Not meaning to be rude, but if I don't respond it's because I actually cannot hear you.") Does wonders.</p>

<p>Class Attendance: Go to class. Seriously, don't be dumb...if you calculate tuition and look at the amount you are paying for each class, odds are that sleeping through calculus will cost you at least 50-100 dollars...that's enough money to buy 10 times as many "beverages" as you consumed the night before that resulted in your missing class in the first place...so save the money for the weekends and work hard before you play hard.</p>

<p>Learning Style: Everyone learns differently, but one strategy that really helped me ascertain information was to think of visual scenarios or acronyms for study material. Here is an example:</p>

<p>Night before a psych exam, I need to know the various parts/functions of the brain. One area is the hippocampus, which controls long term memory and spatial navigation. Now, think about a visual that is wacky and memorable....that's right, folks: A hippo jumping through your campus dorm window would be pretty memorable (and result from poor navigation on the hippo's part). Honestly, it may seem surprising but often times the weirder the scenario, the better you will remember it. I was so excited about this window-destroying hippo that I looked forward to that part of the exam and I nailed it.</p>

<p>Test Prep: Schedule a study group two nights before an exam, and invite your class crush. This is beneficial for two reasons: 1. It will motivate you to know the material so you do not come across as a complete idiot in front of the cute girl/guy you invited to the study group. 2. It will give you enough time to identify the information you are not as familiar with, and give you the peace of mind to have that extra day to take it all in (rather than pulling an all nighter when the group ends at 3am and you realize you are screwed).</p>

<p>Staying Focused: For me, the solution was quite simple. I didn't need any sort of caffeine or other pills...I was able to simply stay focused out of necessity. If you can handle the pressure and put in the time to plan out an essay (i.e. get your sources, a solid outline)...last minute can do wonders. If it weren't for the last minute, after all, nothing would get done.</p>

<p>If you are reading this and cringing because that is not your style at all, my recommendation would be similar to the study group suggestion: do work with your crush. You will want to impress away by showcasing your conscientious work ethic.</p>

<p>Staying Focused: Your GPA: It is the prime tool of "ranking" of how well you adapted to different challenges in college. Even thought you should try to get the highest grades throughout your college career, it is especially important in the first few semesters where a single grade can bring you up or down significantly. That said, if you go into your senior year with a 3.8 and end up with a B or even a C in a particularly challenging course your GPA will be practically unaffected, as opposed to getting a B or a C during your freshmen year where that could cause you to go down from a 3.8 to a 3.5 or bellow.</p>

<p>Organization</p>

<p>Time Management: It's OK to take breaks. In fact, breaks are a must! Study for an hour or two (whatever your limit may be), and take a well-earned break to decompress before hitting the books again. It's also helpful to spread out work around an existing schedule to break it up and make it more manageable.</p>

<p>Re: facebook. Don't do it. If you are studying, I don't care if you "just have to go on really quick to get someone's phone number." We all know that after 10 seconds you will be directed to some psuedo-stranger's photos from their recent trip to Vegas and an hour later you will logout, feel guilty, and immediately realize that you didn't even remember to get the information you initially needed.</p>

<p>Calendar: I feel blessed to have attended college before blackberry's made it big. That is to say, I actually owned a physical calendar. It worked well, given that there is never any potential for technical glitches when you write things down and have it in front of you.</p>

<p>With that said, for collaborative organizing, Google Calendar is so helpful to see other people's schedules and find times that work for everyone. Do whatever you are most comfortable with.</p>

<p>Finances/Budget: Do you REALLY need that 7 dollar venti starbucks frappuccino? I'm just saying...they add up pretty quickly...</p>

<p>Budgeting is pretty simple: Figure out your weekly or monthly allowance, and then record your habits for a week and realize how far off your total was from your projections. Continue to play the "I swear I will stick to my budget this time" game for the remainder of college.</p>

<p>Social Life</p>

<p>Roommate: Communication communication communication. That's all there is to it. If you have something nice to say, say it. If you have an issue, bring it up in a mature fashion (the whole "let's be passive aggressive and roll our eyes at each other until the issue explodes" approach is SO high school). If he or she does not shower for 72+ hours, I'm pretty sure there is a law somewhere that you are allowed to request a new roomie...</p>

<p>Social/Academic Life Balance: Merge the two whenever possible. Figure out which of your friends are "study-friendly" (that is to say, you can actually get work done together without gchat messaging across the table from each other the entire time). It's nice to have a support network, even if it means just having someone to vent to or high-five when you finish that endless Cognitive Psych. chapter.</p>

<p>Social/Academic Life Balance: The only thing that popped into my head was "priorities", and how important it was to have them straight. This can stretch out to cover the "I should study for this first because it will take the most time" to "I should really buy the solutions manual instead of the new Xbox game". This also combines well with procrastination. What I mean is, although the party you plan on attending is of the "utmost importance" and your lowest test grade will be dropped anyway, go ahead and study for the test. I promise you, your life will not suffer if you miss that one night out, but a difference between an A and a B can greatly impact your grade in that class, which follows you for a really, really long time.</p>

<p>Decision Making/Peer Pressure: If you are surrounded by a group of people doing something, just do it. You don't want to be the odd man out, because then you will have no friends.</p>

<p>I am being sarcastic (mostly). There will be certain people who are more judgmental than others when it comes to participation (or lack therof) in certain activities, but overall just do what feels right and try to think about waking up the next morning...would you sufficiently regret this decision? If yes, then your decision should go from definitely to possibly. College is all about testing the waters...and everyone's current is completely different. Don't go from a stream to a waterfall without passing through the internal dam of your moral compass.</p>

<p>Now that I have sufficiently exhausted every metaphor known to man, hopefully you get the idea. Oh, and one more thing- if you ever don't feel like doing something or going to an event, just say that you are feeling nauseous. No one wants to be around the sick kid, plus nausea is something that can pass and an excuse that will not result in awkwardness a couple of hours later if you bump into everyone at a party ("My stomach feels so much better!" is far more credible than "Turns out I don't have an identical twin in town this weekend...or any weekend...).</p>

<p>Healthy Lifestyle</p>

<p>Nutrition: Moderation, people. Diet is all about healthy variety. If nothing else, I promise you that the following switch will improve your diet drastically: Instead of drinking copious amounts of soda and juice, replace them with water and milk and your bones and mind will thank you. (Juice is OK every once in a while, but they are dangerously deceptive)</p>

<p>Sleep: I would highly recommend getting some every once in a while. 7+ hours, if you can. I got about 5 hours/night during the weekdays and I would crash for 12 hours during the weekends, and let me tell you there is nothing more sickening than hearing birds chirping as you are studying at 5am, or waking up on a Sunday afternoon finding it to be pitch black outside. 2 years later, my body is still recovering from my "cool at the time, idiotic in retrospect" sleep schedule.</p>

<p>Sleep: Wake up early! I'm an incoming freshman taking summer classes and I found that waking up at 6 am and going for a quick run jump starts the brain more than coffee ever could. Sometimes that means only getting a couple hours of sleep, but it's worth it because you can always take naps (not too long naps, however).</p>

<p>Alcohol: Be very careful with mystery drinks/punches in a frat basement. Also, keep in mind that alcohol doesn't really hit you until several minutes after consumption. So, it's probably a smart idea to space it out and avoid taking several shots in a row. Of tequila. On your first night of college when first impressions are surprisingly lasting.</p>

<p>Stress-Reduction: Naps were my savior. Try to aim for 30-50 minutes, or else your nap can turn into a mini-sleep which can result in you waking up more exhausted and confused than when you laid down. Also, it's important to put things in perspective. Yes, you may have a huge orgo test in the morning, but there are people in third world countries without access to water and there are other college students (hopefully not your roomie) down the hall avoiding showers for days. It's important to aim high, but recognize that people make mistakes. Life continues even if you do not ace the exam. Perhaps it will lead you to an exciting career surveying clients on whether they would prefer rectangular fried potatoes with their meal, but it continues nonetheless...(kidding! you'll be fine)</p>

<p>Exercise: Join/create the intramural dodgeball team. Great workout, great times.</p>

<p>Support:</p>

<p>Friends: College is a huge adjustment from high school, in that many of us will befriend people of all ages and not have the same consistency in our group of friends. You ultimately have the make the decision of whether you value a more intimate group that you see often, or a more scattered group without the same sustainability. Everyone has their own individual balance, and you will figure things out after a semester or two.</p>

<p>Parents: Call them every once in a while, OK? They are likely 10 times more anxious about your departure than you are, and a quick check-in on the way to class can go a long way. Also, if you have a parents weekend that your rentals can attend, suggest a restaurant that they can take you and your friends (particularly your friends from far away whose parents could not make it). A surrogate family is always appreciated, especially when it comes to good food.</p>

<p>Parents: On the subject of parents, I would say not only to call them once in a while, but find an excuse (even a lame one) to ask for their help or advice once a month. Which tie or skirt to wear to an event, how to approach a professor with a question, whether you should eat more salads...these are all good and harmless things you should ask your parents about, even if you don't really need their input.</p>

<p>Why bother?</p>

<p>First, it makes them feel needed, which is good for your relationship with them, plus it allows them to feel that they've contributed in a way that matters to you, so that they are less likely to butt into the things you don't want them to meddle with. "Johnny always asks when he needs our help, and since he's not asking for help with this, he must have it under control."</p>

<p>Second, it forces you to get comfortable asking for help and advice. The first ten times you ask them, it may just be your monthly made-up reason. The eleventh time, it may be something you genuinely can't handle on your own. Any hesitation to ask for the help you truly need should be gone by then.</p>

<p>Counseling/Coaching: Many campuses offer free counseling services. Do not hesitate to take advantage of these resources! Also, whether it is a friend, professor, or other member of your college community, I am sure you will come across several people who you can trust for support, or at least allow you to vent and point you in the right direction. College is a blast, but it is also a time of personal growth and expansion of metaphoric bodies of water, so live it up but recognize that everyone is going through challenges, and you should never feel like you have to overlook any of your own.</p>

<p>you could of easily just of told people to go to orientation and they would of told you that.</p>

<p>Oh, and I forgot one more:</p>

<p>Grammar: I would suggest using it ;-)</p>

<p>really good post...will definitely keep in mind...and ignore marc</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice! Greatly appreciated (:</p>

<p>
[QUOTE]
Oh, and I forgot one more:</p>

<p>Grammar: I would suggest using it ;-)

[/QUOTE]
</p>

<p>Oh no he didn't!!!!</p>

<p>^lol, MonkeyKing. </p>

<p>Thanks Gojumbos!!</p>

<p>loved this post :)
thanks for the advice</p>

<p>Didn't expect much when I came into this thread, but it turned out to be a great read! Good post :D</p>

<p>Great stuff, I just had to bookmark this for future reference.</p>

<p>Thank you very much! I enjoyed the hippo senario :)</p>

<p>
[quote]
I'm an incoming freshman taking summer classes

[/quote]
</p>

<p>That sort of killed these tips for me. Pretty common knowledge to the average college student, but I get the feeling a lot of freshmen are going to forget these things at first.</p>

<p>glad you enjoy the tips, guys! </p>

<p>re: incoming freshman post- I think that was the only one posted by an incoming freshman. The rest were posted by accomplished, attractive, intelligent, and of course modest recent college grads :-)</p>

<p>
[quote]
.. and ignore marc

[/quote]
</p>

<p>what? you do realize during orientation, all of them typically hands you a book that says "success" or "college life" or something of that sort that literally says all of that.</p>

<p>he spent how long conjuring all those ideas up while they are already up, published, and mass produced out in the world with hundreds of websites showing that information as well. No need to reinvent the wheel</p>

<p>You suggest using grammar, yet you said "Me and my friends . . ."</p>

<p>^Sarcasm</p>

<p>Excellent post :)</p>

<p>Go to office hours.</p>

<p>Talk in class.</p>

<p>Those beer calories add up, try and work out. Freshemn/Soph/Junior 15 is true.</p>

<p>Don't get in trouble with the administration.</p>

<p>In terms of the drug culture: Be safe. Look up drugs before you do them. If you're getting in too deep, try and address it before it gets out of hand. If you smoke, know the marijuana laws: how much you can have, etc; It's decriminalized in Ohio. If you buy drugs, get it from either a friend or from a trusted source. People will rip you off if you are clearly ignorant. </p>

<p>If you have a fake, don't use it at upscale places. And get your own name: if it's a strangers ID, it's identity theft. </p>

<p>Don't drive drunk.</p>

<p>Be as outgoing as possible. Don't be too quick to label people. People will always surprise you.</p>

<p>GO GREEK! </p>

<p>Hangovers: Drink water and gatorade, eat bread (soaks up the beer), take advil, sleep it off. Don't mix that many types of alcohol (wine, beer and tequilla in one night it not a good thing). Beer before liquor, never been sicker. If you never drank before, and don't have a tolerance, don't drink to catch up to more experienced drinkers.</p>

<p>Keep things in perspective: one bad grade is not going to ruin your life. </p>

<p>Don't overdraft your bank account. </p>

<p>Sleep in. because you won't be able to when you have a career. </p>

<p>Visit friends in other cities during breaks. </p>

<p>Do things out of your comfort zone: college is all about experiencing as much as possible.</p>

<p>Keep track of the minutes on your cell phone. I went over first month of college: $126. </p>

<p>Be nice and respectful to everyone.</p>

<p>Don't create or get involved in drama. Avoid it. </p>

<p>Make friends with residential coordinators, school employees, etc; it can pay off.</p>

<p>If your roommate is ****ing you off, talk to them. Things can get out of hand quick. </p>

<p>Don't worry about what others think. Do what makes you happy, do what you think is fun, wear what you want, and be yourself. Don't be a phony.</p>

<p>Ask upperclassman for advice. </p>

<p>Also about alcohol: if you feel like you're going to die, or a friend is passed out/in really bad shape, go to the hospital. I've never had to, but it happens. </p>

<p>Take time for yourself to relax. </p>

<p>Don't be that person who gets drunk and hookups with people you just meant. It happens to freshmen, and you can develope a reputation quick.</p>

<p>Don't put stupid pictures online. You don't need to advertise you drinking at parties and going to bars. That stuff will catch up to you. You shouldn't feel the need to be that person who takes pictures of everything and everyone every time you go out. It's honestly really obnoxios and I think it's immature that people feel the need to post pictures to brag about their weekend.</p>

<p>Don't walk alone at night.</p>

<p>Have fun and use good judgement.</p>

<p>good suggestions, tiff!</p>

<p>great thread</p>

<p>love the op's post. i had a good laugh.</p>

<p>"let me tell you there is nothing more sickening than hearing birds chirping as you are studying at 5am"
...this is so true.</p>