By Nicholas Tarleton
My first semester of college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was totally a new experience, living in a new environment, having to take on young adult responsibilities, sharing a room, getting to and from classes on my own, and taking responsibility. Of course I had a lot of fun outside of academics, like going to football games, basketball games, and participating in our first ever Illini Harlem Shake, but there were some days where I thought that I just would not make it through. I want to share some advice with you guys that I wish I had taken myself to be more successful throughout my first semester of college. Please take note and learn from what I am going to share.
1. TIME MANAGEMENT
Please take advantage of every single calendar or memo board you have in your possession. If you have a smart phone and laptop or Google Calendar, sync them together, because it will help you in the future. There were some instances where I forgot I had important meetings. I’d recommend purchasing or putting on your trunk list that you’ll need a white board to write out everything you need to do such as when you have classes, when you’ll be studying, time you are going to tutoring or meeting up with your professor and other things. Believe me, time management is a huge factor to being successful.
2. USE ALL RESOURCES
If you are struggling in a course, go to the professor or send him or her an e-mail. Professors love when students communicate with them, especially when they go introduce themselves. I e-mail my Chemistry professor literally every other day with help in Chemistry. What he especially likes that I do is scan the work I have done to get the answer and attach it in an e-mail so that he can see where I went wrong with my process. Gain a good relationship with your professors and visit them occasionally to show them that you care.
3. TAKE CARE OF Y-O-U!
Take great notes; refer back to them when you settle down in your dorm room or the library, and go to sleep at a reasonable time. Do not pull 31 all-nighters your first semester like I did.
In a nutshell:
Be responsible for your actions
Be helpful and friendly with others while you’ll start to develop and build on many relationships that will blossom into true friendships
Exercise on a regular basis
Take advantage of the gym fee in your student fees
Be careful – always keep emergency numbers in your phone or posted in your room
Remember to have a bit of fun on the weekends
Join student organizations – but don’t join them all.
Dedicate your time wisely to student organizations that will benefit you in the future as well as community service opportunities.
Take my advice and learn from your experience to be the best you can be! Best wishes to a great first semester/new semester to start fresh!