Tips for Success in College

By Nick Trotto

Let's face it, you are going to be challenged in your college classes and sometimes emotionally drained.

In order to successfully transform as student in college what you should do throughout your first years of school is be prepared, both financially and mentally. Here are a few tips to help you work smarter and not harder during your semester.

Don’t buy the newest, fanciest laptop

Don’t assume that because everyone has one that they can afford one. You need a pen, a notebook, and ears. Don’t go into more debt for a fancy piece of tech unless it is absolutely necessary. If you can remember your user login and password. The campus libraries have computers for students to use.  Also stop by your school’s IT department. Most schools are more than willing to help and you could find yourself renting a laptop for free.

You don’t have to write everything down

A two-hour lecture can bring you up to two pages of notes – three if the content is elaborate.  Writing down every word your professor says will give you hand cramps and brain cramps when you’re trying to compress it all onto cue cards for studying. Also, you won’t always retain the information if you are immersed in your note taking rather then the lesson.  Find out if your professors makes their lectures and notes available online. Take brief notes and even try recording the lectures on your phone.

Don't be afraid to exchange email addresses with the person sitting next to you

If they seem like they’ll be the type to stick it out for the semester, or year. You’ll thank them when you catch the flu, sleep in, or forget about class in the haze of your hangover. One of the most important parts about a college education is about making relationships and enhancing your communications skills.

Visit the writing center and tutoring center

No matter if your are acing a class or about fail, see if there are study groups, seminars or help centers available on campus. Do this in the first week and use them when you have trouble understanding. Sometimes your workload will seem unbearable and they will be able to help you lift some weight off your shoulders.

Learn to compromise

You won’t have time to complete all your readings on top of socializing and partying, so learn how to prioritize. Is the 20-page article about learning to write an essay more valuable, or the book you’re writing your essay on? My advice? Read the books you’re going to write your essays on/do your assignments on, and skim through the rest of the texts until finals. Then, read, read, read until your eyes spontaneously combust.

Build a support system

Whether you’re commuting or living on or near campus prepare yourself for the mental breakdown that is most likely coming, unless you’re the most well-adjusted human being on the planet. Friends, family, just find someone who will listen to your 2 a.m. rants. You will probably live through it, but it helps when someone is there who will do anything to make you feel better.

Keep your GPA in mind; but remember, Have a little fun – fourth year will not be so easy.