By Mahogany (BLOC Fellow)
Sure success in college means obtaining and maintaining a high GPA, however, college is much more than just getting good grades and smiling and nodding at your professor (even when you may not understand a concept). Success is found in what you do outside of the classroom. How are you studying on your own? Are you making the most of the resources available to you on campus? Are you being flexible and open minded? Are you participating in activities that will benefit your future career goal(s)?
Form A Support System
Be aware of your support system. If you do not have one, form one really fast. This system can include friends, family, church members and sometimes professors. Recognize people who have your best interest and heart and only offers good advice. This will not only give you the support that you need as you matriculate through college, but it also helps you to make the right decisions. Keep your support system as broad as you can and try not to restrict it. The more advice you have, the better!
Work Hard, Play Hard
Recognize that success takes hard work! Course work gets more intense as you move up from one class to the next and settling for mediocre work will not cut it. Take initiative and be on your P’s and Q’s regarding your studies. Be on top of your assignments, projects, papers and exams. When you encounter an intricate information in which you do not understand, acknowledge that you need help and get help. Even the most intelligent students glean from others when they need to do so. Know that hard work pays off. Rewarding yourself after you have worked hard and did well in a subject helps you to keep going and doing your best. Remember, to relax you are in it for the long run so do not burn yourself out.
Know who you are! This supersedes everything. You are uniquely made and trying to fit into a crowd that misrepresents your identity can be really confusing and add additional stress. Most of us when we enter college are around the age of 18 and by this time we have come accustomed to a certain way of living for 18 years and sparking a change in who you are can lead to confusion and unwarranted plights that may or may not break you. Stay true to who you are and find friends who are similar to you, without completely excluding those who are different from you.
Do not stay cooped up in your dorm room. It is really easy to confine yourself to what is comfortable and for some of us, that is being alone. Though it may be comfortable, being isolated from your colleagues impedes you from enjoying the college life and you often find yourself more stressed than you would if you were more involved on campus. If you are an introvert like me, you probably are fueled when you spend time alone, which is great, but learn to balance solitude with having a social life.
In college you are given a great deal of freedom and sometimes it can be too much to manage. Without someone on your back constantly reminding you of what you should be doing it is easy to mismanage and poorly prioritize your student duties. Recalling the reason why you chose to attend college should help with making good decisions.This has helped me to prioritize activities and has helped with balancing campus involvement. I say all this to say that excelling academically should be first priority but have fun while being the best student that you can be.
Restrict Your Friend Group
Building cordial relationships with people who are largely different from you goes a long way. Being friends with the opposite can be stressful and unappeasing if the extremes exist, however you will quickly learn to appreciate the differing qualities. This also prepares you for the world beyond college in that you will not always encounter people who are similar to you. Early recognition of reality is better!
Be Financially Mature
Let’s go shopping! Swipe, Swipe, Swipe. Credit card debt is the common denominator among all college students across the nation. It seems like it is free money at the time. You can swipe without having the money up front. Say what? While the latter is true, you also want to keep in mind that falling into default on your credit balance will accrue interest on the actual amount spent. You go to the mall and spend 90.00 dollars on a pair of Nikes and when you miss the billing deadline you now owe 100.00 dollars. Why the increase? You are paying interest which varies from credit card to credit card. Not to mention that your credit score plummets every time you miss a payment due date. Be smart and financially mature, do not spend more than what you can afford!
STAY PLUGGED IN!
Get plugged in with campus clubs, events, and activities and ensure that your involvement with the organization will further prepare you for your career goal(s). Do not limit your resources to campus,but branch out and become a part of professional national communities. Aim for organizations that will strengthen your weaknesses and build leadership skills.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SUMMERS
Students typically are thrilled about summer time. They picture it as a time to sleep, have fun and enjoy the weather after a lingering cold winter (depending on where you are from). While enjoying your summer is important, you should make every effort to have a productive summer. There are only three summers during the course of undergraduate and you want to make sure that you are applying for internships,research programs, employment (closely related to your field of study) and participating in other activities of interest. Do not completely waste your summer. Undergraduate is the time to build your resume.