A Hard Knock Life

Survival of the fittest may have been a slogan for supremacy during the early 20th century, but the same slogan can be applied to your lifestyle in college.  This article is designed to help you achieve and pass your finals.  Through this article I will help you by giving you a step by step guideline to survive college.  

Step One:  Finding your classes 

So you have just arrived at school.  You are a college Freshman and have four years to build your life, make friends, network, and perhaps meet a spouse.  Unfortunately, many potential students spend too much time doing these things and fail to meet the most crucial goal.  Your first goal in college should be, (assuming you have already registered for classes) finding the places where your classes will meet.  

Before you can find your classes and begin working to achieve your degree you need to hook up your printer, set up your computer, make your bed and turn on your night light.  Once you do these things, in no paticular order, print out a copy of your class schedule and explore your campus.  If you are located at an urban campus you may be lost at first, but don't despair.  Take in your surrondings and try to remember a path to your classes.  The worst mistake you can make on your first day of classes is getting lost.  

Step Two:  Attendance 

Now in High School you probably scoffed at all the kids who got perfect attendance, but you know what?  They were on to something.  In college, your professors will note your absence.  They probably won't take roll, but you know what they are humans and possess something called a brain.  To be a professor you are also probably a Doctor of a given field to reach that level of excellence you have most likely mastered a five year doctorate program.  These people know who comes to class and who doesn't.  If you want to make a good impression you will be on time and in your seat at the time the class begins.  If your sick or there is a family emergency you should always email your professor and tell them that you will not be able to come to class and explain why.  Attendance is a big part of class.  


Step Three:  Participation 

If you are a student of the humanities like I was you probably have a lot of papers and tests in your introductory classes.  Going in you will probably be told that these will be the bulk of your grades and that class participation is not very important.  Let me offer you a caveat.  They say this, and the grade is built the way they say.  However, if you are insightful and participate in class the professor is going to notice you and begin to like you.  If you participate and become one of the professor's favorite students you will go a long way to helping your grade.  We call this sucking up, but like I mentioned before these professors are people.  Some might be willing to cut you a break or an extension if they begin to like you and notice that you are a model student.  It's not a sure way to make an A, but it is a good start and coupled with attendance it is part of the model citizen persona you need to create for yourself.

Step Four:  Networking

The fourth step is networking and is just as important as the previous three steps if not more so.  Now I am not speaking of networking with your peers.  That is going to do little to help you gain an A in your college courses, but networking with your professors is a different story.  You should build friendships with these people.  They will be your mentors in your field for four years and can be great assets to your career.  If you make it through college and get your B.A. you are most likely going to want to go further than that.  A B.A. is very little in the scheme of things.  Professors will be instrumental in writing you a letter of recommendation for centers of higher education.  You need to build contacts, try to pick out a Professor that you click with and take numerous classes with them.  Allow them to see you in action, show them your professonalism in the classroom or lab, be a model to other students, participate.  These will be instrumental in building the necessary blocks to stregthen your chances in reaching higher education. 

Step Five:  Study

The final step that I will detail in this introductory article on "How to Surive in College" is the most important step.  You will need to study hard to succeed.  You can probably make it by, by doing the minimum, but in the long run you are going to be stuck with C's and B's.  You need to study and become an expert in your field.  This is how you become an expert and harvest A's and B+'s.  You will need to build a long list of successful courses to advance further in college.  This means a minimum GPA of 3.0.  To get into a graduate program at a better university you should aim for a 3.3.  To get into a doctorate program you will need to aim for a 4.0.  This will mean study, study, study.  You might have to forsake your friends and skip the party scene, but what's better over a hundred thousand dollars a year or a few years of fun and a beer tummy when your thirty?  

In conclusion, I will continue to provide tips on how to survive in college.  These tips are the cusp of the iceberg and if you follow them they will provide you with pillars on how to be successful in college.  They will show you how to be a model student and to impress your professors.  Later we will examine how to write a paper and how to study for your finals.  


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