Something went wrong loading this image.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Tips For Your First Year Of College - Planning Ahead

Prima Manandhar 2

Prima Manandhar-Sasaki, NSHSS Student Council

Macaulay Honors College, Class of 2017

You’ve got the acceptance letter, and regardless of all the obstacles you’ve faced or are facing, you’re about to embark on a new chapter in your life. Now what? We’ve all heard that college is different from high school. Having completed my first year of college, I can confidently say that college–at least through my experience–most definitely was distinct from high school in more ways than one. One such difference is that the decisions you make in college are both more numerous and have greater consequences. Leaving off that homework assignment until the morning before classes in high school may have worked out, but leaving off studying for a final in college can be disastrous. Deciding to write a report on one topic of American History as opposed to another in high school was usually a more trivial matter; in college, deciding your major affects not only your course load, but post-graduation plans as well.

Another difference, perhaps more profound, is the new responsibility of taking control of your future. It is not simply a matter of knowing when to turn the T.V. off and study; this responsibility is about establishing who you want to be, what you want to do, and how to map out the path you need to take to get there. For some, this has meant changing majors multiple times as their true interests were realized; for others this has meant realizing when to making sacrifices. Whatever the future may hold, you are now more powerful in determining your path. How can you start your college experience with an edge? Here are some tips for having a stellar first year of college:

  • Establish a support system: have people in your life that you know will encourage you to succeed and who will listen to you;
  • Work with an advisor to take advantage of opportunities and also stay on track depending on your goals;
  • Have input from multiple perspectives when making big decisions, but ultimately make your own decisions;
  • Plan out your long term aspirations if known: this will help you map out the steps to get there (i.e. course selection, internships);
  • Study for your exams periodically: review and practice material after you learn it in lecture;
  • Research opportunities (i.e. internships, volunteer experiences) at your college and beyond and keep track of deadlines ;
  • Acknowledge when you are taking on more than you can handle: rather than be mediocre in many things, excel in fewer things;
  • Set your priorities: plan your time effectively.

The key is to find a balance between your academics, extracurricular activities, and life outside of academia in a way that fosters personal growth. Have a great time in college and best of luck to all of you in your endeavors!