Fall semester can be a rude awakening for many students. Syllabus week should serve as the perfect transition back into college life, but more often that not it becomes an excuse to go out every night. This is really a shame, because students who stumble at the start of the semester rarely recover. Backpedaling through the semester is no way to experience college.
Get An Assignment Calendar:
Unless you ACTUALLY have a photographic memory, writing down your assignments is a good idea. There’s no worse feeling than showing up to class and watching everyone else assuredly unzip their bags and place an assignment down on their desks. Except for maybe doing the same, only to realize you’ve done the wrong chapter.
The psychic stress of trying to keep your assignments in your mind will bleed into the rest of your day. Plus, your classmates will forever know you as “that kid who doesn’t have his life together” because you are constantly texting them asking about the homework.
Even though, increasingly, college is for the rich, there are still many students out there who finance their own education. Even students who receive assistance from their parents (which is totally ok, too) would do well to establish this important skill early on in life.
If it sounds a little too complicated, there are countless apps and websites dedicated to organizing your personal finances (Mint.com, Geezeo.com, and Wesabe.com are all excellent resources). If you’re not sold on the idea, try tracking where all your money goes for one month. You might be surprised enough to keep up the practice when you seen how much money you spend on beer and food. And if you decide that it’s not for you, feel free to return to your old way of life. As they say, ignorance is bliss.
DO SOMETHING BESIDES JUST GO TO CLASS. ANYTHING:
Seriously. Just do anything besides get up, go to class, watch TV and go to bed, repeat. This isn’t Punxsutawney. You are throwing away the only four years of your life where BILLIONS of dollars have gone into creating what amounts to an adolescent playground.
Go to the gym and learn how to play squash or racquetball. Go slack-line with the hippies on the campus green. Join a club. The specifics aren’t really important here, as long as you don’t spend your life sitting – sitting in class, sitting in your room, and sitting on the toilet. Just get out and DO. Going to class is literally the least you can do in college. Although that does bring us to the next point.
Don’t Skip Your Classes…Yet.
A lot of students skip syllabus week. This is a critcal error, especially if you are a slacker. The first week of classes is like shopping for your schedule. When I was picking my classes, I would sit in on upwards of ten classes to get a feel for what courses would work best for me. That way, I was able to see a wide range of professors and their teaching styles, as well as mix and match my classes to create a practical course load.
If you only check out five classes, you’re blind to the other options that are available. Most importantly, however, if you don’t attend syllabus week, your going to be blindsided by the fact that your professor is a real hard-ass. If that’s not what you’re looking for, it’s better to find that out early and drop the course in a timely fashion. Instead, you might find yourself with a C+ on the first paper and a sick feeling in your stomach.
Be very honest with yourself here. How hard do you want to work? Is this semester going to be more about work or play? These questions, and others like it, should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re sitting, with a wicked hangover, in the back row of your classes during syllabus week. Which brings us to our last point.
Budget Time For Self-Reflection:
In the whirlwind of homework, partying, and general debauchery, we sometimes forget to sit down, take a deep breath, and think about numero uno. Taking stock of where you are in life, what you want to achieve, and how you intend to get there – that’s an important exercise to establish, but one that most people ignore.
Throughout your college career, you’ll hear many people, often in a hushed whisper, discuss how much so-and-so has “changed”, and not in a good way. Change is good! Losing yourself is not.