By Rosette Allegretti
“I am officially a college student.” It can feel kind of intimidating, right? Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to become the ordeal many build it up to be. Most students’ anxieties about beginning their college careers can be put to rest simply by being prepared.
The college experience is very different from high school. Freshmen often seem overwhelmed at having classes in varying time frames at what they deem “unusual hours of the day”. It can be somewhat of an adjustment, but a positive one if they are open to the change. For example, an hour and twenty-five minutes for a class may sound intolerable for some, but think about it for a minute. Rather than having this class for a shorter amount of time every day, it is only held on two days a week, usually a Tuesday and Thursday. Other classes are only offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Having a day in between without that particular class can be very invigorating. It definitely makes the classes more manageable, especially if you know how to prioritize your time. To put it simply, develop effective time management skills.
Contrary to popular belief among first year students, it is possible to study and socialize at the same time. Forming study groups can be both an amazing support system and a great way to meet others with similar classes and interests. In college, you are an adult. Most professors do not hold your hand, or remind you daily of upcoming assignments and deadlines. They may mention a paper due date once or twice. It is up to the dedicated college student to write down and remember important dates. For this I would highly recommend a daily planner. In my college career, I went everywhere with one. It was the key to organizing my life. Every date, assignment, occasion, and so on would be written down in that planner, and I found it useful to record activities as well—meetings, parties, birthdays, etc.
While schoolwork is of the utmost importance in college, another key component in achieving college success is to become actively involved. Students must find room in their busy schedules to explore interests through clubs and sports. Join, Join, Join! I cannot stress this enough. Activities such as these help make the entire college experience. Without them, students become too locked into their coursework to actually enjoy life. College is not just work; it should be fun as well. These are supposed to be the best years of your lives. Becoming a member of clubs and organizations gives students an outlet to de-stress. This creates greater opportunities to meet new people, expand your horizons, and try something new. Just be careful not to join too many activities at once, or there will be no time left for school itself.
College life can become one of the greatest experiences in a person’s life. Everyone can be successful as long as they find the proper balance in their lives. Remember: work + play = success in college.#
Rosette Allegretti is an administrator in the School of Education at St. John’s University, Staten Island Campus and an Adjunct English Professor.