College life works as a type of training in preparation for the real world. However, you won’t be able to achieve what you want if you do not work hard for it. If you are currently facing your freshman year in college and have no idea how to navigate this new world just yet, read on.
Do the things you want to do.
College is the perfect time to figure out what you love to do. And let’s face it: if you love what you’re doing later on in life, no one will be able to stop you from becoming successful. On that note, try not to do things that you feel like you should do. Don’t take a major in accounting just because you have friends there, for example. Don’t go out when you don’t feel like it just because your friends want to, either. Do things you are interested in doing instead. Do the things you really love to do.
Go to class.
Yes, you have all of the freedom the world can offer right now, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about your classes. In fact, if possible, attend all of your classes, even if the weekend ones. Minor or not, no class deserves to be skipped. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
Write down notes.
Write down notes, even if it’s the most boring class that ever existed and even if the professor tells you that it’s okay not to take notes. Trust me: they’re looking for those I-don’t-care-what-you’re-about-to-say-I’m-going-to-sleep-in-your-class type of students. You don’t have to copy everything, though; you’re not in high school anymore, after all. You just need to figure out what to write and what to not write. I would also suggest rewriting the notes that you take down, so that you can remember them better for next time. Also, you never know: your crush might ask to copy your notes someday. *wink*
Read, read, read.
It’ll help you in the future. I remember my professor saying this: “Take at least one day off from your smartphones and computers and read. Whether it’s school-related or not, it will help you a lot.” She always wanted us to read books. While it was kind of irritating in the beginning, I eventually realised that she was right. Reading will help you improve your English skills. It’ll help you write your college essays, speak fluently in front of class and boost your confidence. It’ll open your mind to almost everything, too.
Focus less on grades, and more on learning.
There are a lot of people more intelligent than you. It’s okay if you’re an average student. It’s okay to fail. You’ll learn a lot in college, not just about how stars are born or what are our bodies made up of. Learn to accept criticism. Learn from your advisers. Accept every challenge. Learn to ride the waves. Make mistakes and learn from them. Okay? Okay.
Make new connections.
Get involved. Join clubs and organisations that you’re interested in. Meet people. Make friends. College is the perfect time to release the extrovert. Become friends with everyone and don’t settle for certain “groups.”
Revel in alone time sometimes.
There will be days when you’ll feel lonely. There will be days when you’ll envy your friends spending quality time with their special someones. Worse, there will be days when you’ll cry and won’t have someone to lean on. Your first instinct may be to look for company, but trust me: sometimes, it’s better to be alone in college. In fact, the key to being happier in college is to learn to enjoy your own company. So what if you study alone? So what if you eat your meals alone? So what if you like being alone? It simply means that you’re comfortable with yourself. Plus, you’ll get to reflect on yourself, too.
Do not tolerate bullying.
If there’s one thing that I learned in college, it’s that there are a lot of people who will try to pull you down and other people won’t be there to defend you all of the time. You are the only one who can help yourself. Overall, though, bullying should never be tolerated. I know some professors who bully their students. I know some friends who bully their friends. So what if you’re a nerd? So what if you’re dark-skinned? So what if you like collecting weird things? People will throw rocks at you. Don’t let them get to you. You shouldn’t care about what other people think of you. You know yourself best. Do not let them ruin the best days of your life.
Listen to your parents.
They’ve got it all figured out. Always remember that they only want what’s best for you. Mom knows best. When you’re messed up, Dad will always be there to fix things. So, go home early if they want you to, even if you find it annoying. At the end of the day, you’ll realize that they’re right about everything and that they’re the only things in your life that are permanent.
Be the person you could never be in high school.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid of changing yourself to become a better person.
At the end of the day, you just have to learn to enjoy every piece of college. College is going to turn your world upside-down in both the best and worst possible ways. You’ll experience your highs and lows, and that’s okay. Just treasure every precious moment as much as you can. Live like there’s no tomorrow. Be the best that you can be.
Photos by Paula Villaranda.