Everybody portrays college as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They talk about all of the amazing things you’ll get to learn and all of the amazing people you’ll get to meet. As a new college student, you might feel incredibly pressured to experience everything at once. You might feel as if there’s a certain college experience that you’re supposed to be having and that you’re wasting your time if you miss out on particular clubs, gatherings, additional courses, and so on. What’s the point in “getting the most” out of college if you hate the entire experience? That can’t possibly be the experience people talk about. So, these are some things to consider if you want to get the most out of college and enjoy it.
Balance studying and socializing.
This is one of the most important things to get right if you want to enjoy college. Most people either lean to one extreme or the other. Obviously, skipping lectures and chilling with your friends on a constant basis is not going to be conducive to your degree; passing your exams and getting a degree are your primary goals when you go to college. Equally, however, you don’t want to lock yourself away in your room and study endlessly. College is an opportunity to meet thousands of your peers. You’ll meet people from all over the country – in fact, you’ll meet people from all over the world. It’s truly an experience like no other. You have to seize it with both hands.
Set yourself the goal of joining up to a club at your college. You don’t have to stick with it for the entirety of your time at college – you don’t even have to stick with it for the whole year. The point is that you’ll be trying something new. There are so many potential doors open to you, and you should be allowing yourself to experience things. Social activities aren’t a distraction from your studies. Socializing prepares you for the real world. Even in important office-based careers, people skills are incredibly valuable. An employer might choose one candidate over another based on their ability to interact with others in a confident and enigmatic manner. So, if you can balance studying and socializing, then you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of college and enjoying it.
Be productive with your time.
This might be a stressful piece of advice in itself, understandably. When people keep badgering you to get the most out of college and use your time efficiently, you might feel less productive because you’re so stressed. Take a deep breather. In order to be productive with your time, you just need to focus on making things as easy as possible. The goal isn’t to overwork yourself. People are more productive when they’re physically and mentally healthy, as you’ll learn in the workplace (one day). You just need to find ways to reduce wastefulness.
Maybe you stay up late to study, for instance. You might not get 8 hours of sleep every night. Depriving yourself of rest will lower your energy levels and negatively affect your concentration. Ironically, you’ll be able to do less work if you do this. Taking care of your body and mind will make you so much more productive. Get enough sleep every night and you’ll be able to do more work during the day because you’ll be focused. Additionally, you should be productive with your time by ensuring that your tech works properly. You might not have much money, but a slow laptop is just going to waste your time. You might want to check out the full article on how to clean up a Mac. That’ll make your laptop so much faster, and you’ll be able to complete your coursework more quickly.
Avoid bad habits.
No, this isn’t your mother speaking. We’re not going to say that you should avoid partying or consuming alcohol (as long as you’re above the legal drinking age). When we talk about avoiding bad habits, we’re talking about habits you might have developed as coping strategies for the pressure you’re under. A lot of people put on weight when they’re a student because they eat poorly and lead sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps you’ve even turned to caffeine sources (e.g. coffee or Coke) to power you through the day. Whilst it might feel good to get a temporary sugar fix from snacks or a caffeine fix from Coffee, if you consume these unhealthy things in excess, then you’ll only feel worse in the long-term. There are healthier ways to deal with stress at college. We’ll discuss that in the next point.
Talk to people.
Whether it’s your parents, your college friends, your lecturers, or even on-campus support services (do some research), there are plenty of people who can lend an ear when you need it. It’s so important to talk to people when you feel as if you’re drowning. You might feel like an island, but it’s worth remembering that every other student feels the same way at some point. As exciting as the overall experience can be, there are plenty of arduous days and nights to come. Even the most conscientious and diligent students can become overwhelmed by the demands of revision and coursework. When that happens, you shouldn’t keep it bottled up inside.
So, consider your options. Opening up to loved ones, such as friends and family, will help you to get your feelings out there. It’ll help to unburden the weight on your chest. But if you want to find solutions to your mental health problems, then it’s worth looking into the services available at your college. Every student’s emotional wellbeing suffers to some extent, so there are plenty of services at modern colleges which are designed to help young people deal with stress and make their way through this challenging period. Again, it’s an incredible experience, but it’s also a tough one.
Try not to worry about the future.
Obviously, everybody thinks about the future. It’s an inescapable part of human life, whether you’re a college student or a retired professional. There’s nothing wrong with looking ahead, but students have a tendency to overthink the future. That’s understandable. Your professors are probably incessantly reiterating the importance of your exams and coursework. Companies might have come into some of your lectures to discuss job opportunities at their firms when you’ve graduated. It can all feel quite overwhelming. But it’s essential not to obsess over the future.
Think of it this way: people change. You might want something different in 3 or 4 years. So, there’s no point in creating a fixed plan for yourself. When you graduate, you might even look into careers that aren’t directly related to your specific degree. The point is that you don’t know what the future holds. It’s always good to consider your options, but you shouldn’t worry about having a definitive career path for yourself. Things change. Remember that. Focus on studying and socializing (obviously, you’ll need to get the balance right, as discussed earlier). But the point is that those two things are the real essence of an enjoyable college experience.
In summary, the key to getting the most out of college and enjoying it is to go easy on yourself. Don’t be consumed by stress. It’s one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face, but it’s also one of the most exciting challenges you’ll ever face. You’ll learn and grow so much over the next few years. Growing pains are a natural part of life, but you’ll feel so much stronger when you graduate.