How to Survive the Freshman Year of College Part 1

So, entering your first year of college? Already in it? That makes you a university freshman. In this two-part series on university freshman we will cover everything to do with surviving year one of college. In part one, you will learn how to succeed academically. In part two, we will discuss how to balance everything else in your life, including food, family and friends.

Link to University Freshman Part II

Introduction to Part 1

I, like you, am a university freshman. I have learned much through my experiences, mostly trial and error (read: failure) and I would love to pass on the knowledge. I'll teach you how I get near-perfect grades in one of the top universities in the world. No, I am not a recluse who studies night and day. In fact, I think I'm pretty good at balancing school with everything else there is to life. My social life is lively, and I even have time to write InfoBarrel articles. I don't mean to brag; I'm just telling you that it's all possible. So dream big. You're going to find that it's not always easy being a university freshman, but it gets easier with consistent effort. One important thing I've learned: absorb all the knowledge you can get, both in the classroom and from articles like this. There's lots of great advice out there, and I think this article cointains many gems. Let's get started!

Part 1 of the Academic Success Formula

1. Go to Class

Class is vital and skipping is not an option for the university freshman. I don't care if you're marks were perfect in high school and you hardly tried. Realize that college is tough, but making it to class can make it a whole lot easier. You may not feel like it after an awesome party the night before, so perhaps it might help to think class as a chance to meet new people. Class is also a great chance to concentrate on your studies. At home there's often so many distractions, while in the classroom your only option is to learn.

2. Do the Assignments

Assignments as a university freshman are a given. Your going to get 'em, and lots of 'em. Best policy: stay on top of them. Don't get behind on assignments, even if they are not to be graded. Once you fall behind on assignments, going to class will become a confusing nightmare, as you will not be able to grasp the material. So, do a quality job on the assignments. Try to complete them in advance.

3. Effective Studying

Notice how I threw the word "effective" in front? Because I don't see the value in some sorts of "studying", such as skimming the textbook in front of the television. Studying requires 100% of your attention. Yes, your total attention. So unplug the tv, delete your Facebook, or whatever it takes. The goal here is to singletask and learn the material. It requires a lot of discipline. One thing to keep in mind: learning won't happen overnight. So ensure you're studying well in advance (one week, if possible). Try to experiment to find out what works for you. Perhaps you should block out chunks of time in the evening to study for a certain exam. Maybe you need to head to the library to avoid distractions. Whatever works, do it. Just make sure your actually learning the material.

4. Be Organized

This is important! Falling under this category would be things like: Knowing when due dates are, having the proper materials, having a study space, etc. This can make studying for easier and far more enjoyable. Pick up an agenda and try it out.

5. Get a Buddy in Each Class

Say you couldn't make it to class, but knew you'd have an assignment. What do you do!? Call the prof? Panic? No! You should call a friend in the class. Try to make at least two reliable friends for each class. They can save your skin at certain points in the term.

6. Get to know your prof, academic advisor and career guidance department

These people can also open up new doors and opportunities for you. Your prof could be more generous marking and possibly offer you a job in the summer or throughout the year. The academic advisor could point you towards new horizons. Your career guidance department is also an invaluable resource. Make it a point to visit all three as often as you can.

7. Take Interest

University life becomes so much easier if you simply take an interest and have an open mind towards the material. As a university freshman, you have a lot of options. It's best to take an interest in as many as you can. Get excited about what you're learning, even if you're really just ambivalent. If you're really bored, perhaps take some different classes. Worst case (or best case?) scenario is to switch programs. Even that's not overly difficult as a university freshman.

8. Be Positive

As a university freshman, there's going to be some rough patches inevitably. We're all human. It's not supposed to be perfect - that'd be a pretty lofty goal. So if you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a breath. The important thing here is to keep your head up and keep pushing on. Lean on friends and family for support.

There you go, academic success for a university freshman! Actually, we're still missing some parts. The rest is going to be covered in University Freshman Part II. In that article you will learn how to handle all the aspects of life outside of school, including money, friends, family and health.

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