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Essential College Tips
by Emily N. Taylor (Student)

Ah, college.  Considered by many to be the time of a young person's life.  It is a time of staying up all night writing a paper that you put off writing.  A time of learning how to deal with when you hurt someone's feelings, or what to do (and not do) when you walk into a communal bathroom and see someone had a little too much to drink.

I just started college a month ago, and have already learned some very important lessons.  I will tell you right now that I am in no way an expert, but here are just a few of the things I have learned:

1) Facebook is a wonderful tool.  But if you have the opportunity to talk with your future roommate before you get to college, do not assume from the conversation that you will get along.  This happened to me.  My roommate and I did not get along.  At all.  Fortunately, I was able to move in with a friend I had made during Orientation, so I didn't have to spend a year in an unsavory situation.

2) Learn who you are compatible with and who you aren't.  During Orientation, I met so many people.  But I knew that most of the people I met were not going to be the best friends I made in college.  Don't be afraid to let those people go.  Learn who you mesh with and stick with them.  I'm not saying don't branch out, but if you find a good group of friends, do anything you can to keep them.

3) Respect.  It's something that many people never remember, but is essential.  If someone doesn't share the same views as you, it doesn't mean they're wrong.  It's simply the way they see things.  You don't have to agree with them, but you don't need to condemn them either.

4) You (hopefully) didn't come to college to party.  You are there to get a degree and have a successful career.  College is not about going out and drinking and partying every night.  If you don't put effort into your classes, you get nothing out of them.  The same goes for grades.  If you don't apply yourself, you won't make a good grade.

5) Procrastination has two sides.  While the good side is that you get to do something more desirable, you hurt yourself in the long run.  If you decide to put off writing a 2,000 word essay until the day before it's due, you stress out.  If you decide to pull an all-nighter to write the essay, you lose sleep.  Meaning that you probably won't remember anything from your classes the next day.  Always weigh the benefits and the consequences before you procrastinate.

6) Do the assigned readings.  You don't want that in class quiz to sneak up on you and have no idea what any of the answers are.  Sitting in class and taking notes just isn't enough.  You have to put the effort into your education.  Professors aren't going to hang over your shoulder and

make sure you get your work done.

7) If you haven't already, discover what you're learning style is.  There are diagnostic tests that can help you find this out.  If you can, try to go more in depth than just the typical visual, kinesthetic (hands-on) and auditory styles.  I'm not saying these aren't important.  But these aren't the only styles out there.  Here is a link to a learning style quiz that is very good: http:// www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp'p=questionnaire.

8) Keep track of your finances.  All of those late night pizzas can add up very quickly.  One of my classmates spent $80 in one night on drinks without even realizing it.  I know you've probably heard this a million times, but if you go out, take only a small amount of cash with you.  Spend only what you can, leaving enough to get home if you take public transportation.  Leave the debit or credit card at home.

9) It is okay to say 'no'.  You don't have to go out and party every night.  You don't have to be involved in every single club.  Learn how to pick and choose.  And don't be afraid to say no.

10) If you get homesick, do not indulge the urge to go home.  Stay where you are.  Try to get involved with your fellow students.  Chances are you'll find someone else who is feeling the same way you are.

11) If you decide to attend college overseas (like I did) research everything you can.  What the laws in your host country are, what the weather is like, how to get around, currency exchange rates, cultural differences etc.  There is nothing worse than being viewed as an obnoxious tourist.

12) Professors do not generally smile upon the use of Wikipedia.  Especially when it is the only source you use.  Wikipedia is a good tool, but try to use it only to get a good grasp on your subject.  Then work hard to find other sources.  Hard work isn't a bad thing either.  This isn't high school.

Remember that it is important to get out and blow off stress.  But make sure you do it in healthy ways.  These are in no way all the things that are important in college, just some of the things I have gathered from the one month I have been here.

Author:
Emily N. Taylor (Student)

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