Close to 50 percent of all American adults have a college degree of some sort. This effectively means going to college is like a rite of passage in the U.S.
If your time to go to college has come, you’re certainly feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Excited because for many students, college life means freedom. Anxious because, well, the roots of education are usually bitter and you don’t have a clear picture of what to expect.
That being said, college lasts only a short time and it’s important that you try to make the most of it. In this guide, we’re sharing a couple of tips that can help you have a wholesome college experience.
Let’s dive in:
Table of Contents
1. Pursue the Right Program
You’re in college to pursue an education that will shape your professional life. Although people can switch careers later on, what you first study in college will go a long way in determining what you become. Pursuing the right program will not only put you on the right career path but also play a big role in your college experience.
Think of a student who goes to college to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree. Midway through the program, they realize nursing isn’t really what they want to pursue. Perhaps they’re more suited to a career in the arts.
Here’s the thing. Once a student realizes that they’re in the wrong course, they start losing interest in the classes and their grades can drop. And, the last thing you want in college is to pursue a program that doesn’t give you the motivation to wake up every day and attend class.
As such, take your time to choose the right program before you even set foot in college. Evaluate your passions and academic strengths and settle on a program you’ll love. You can also seek the advice of a career counselor.
Changing programs midway through college will set you back and even ruin your experience. You’ll lose touch with most of the friends you made early on in college. Yet the pressure to make new friends is one of the leading causes of stress among college students.
2. College Life Isn’t All About the Books
The goal of every college student is to achieve academic success. Although, this doesn’t mean you should spend every waking second on your books. You know, all study and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
College is a perfect time to develop new passions and hobbies. Stretch your boundaries and learn something new.
Your college probably has several clubs. Join a few and get involved.
If you’ve never kicked a ball, for example, why not join the soccer club and learn more about the sport? Besides giving you an opportunity to develop a new skill, clubs are also a hotspot for making new friends and networking.
Don’t restrict yourself to things that are only available within your campus. Chances are there’s a vibrant community outside the campus, and you can find something to do. If there are charitable organizations nearby, for instance, nothing stops you from volunteering. You’ll do good, all while making new friends outside your college circle.
Of course, you have to party in college. Go out with your friends whenever you can and make the most of the weekend.
However, remember to party responsibly and in moderation. About 25 percent of college students record poor grades and experience other academic problems because of alcohol and drug use. Some even drop out entirely. You don’t want that to happen to you.
3. Take Charge of Your Finances
Like most college students, you’re probably counting on your parents for financial support. There’s nothing wrong with that, but college is the best possible time to develop healthy financial habits. You ought to learn how to manage the little money you have.
However, if we’re being honest, you don’t like calling your parents every other day for some money. No one does. You wish you’d have a source of income to supplement what you get from your parents and/or supporters.
Well, the good news is you can have an income. There are plenty of ideal part-time jobs for students, but availability will depend on the location of your campus. Some campuses offer students jobs with stipends, but for the most part, you’ll find better opportunities at private employers based in your location.
There are also a lot of online jobs, such as writing and editing, that don’t require you to have professional training. As long as you have the skills, you can find a gig to keep you going.
If you’re lucky enough to find a part-time job, don’t lose sight of the ball. Your only goal is to supplement your income as you pursue your education. If a job becomes too demanding, don’t give it priority over your classes.
Taking charge of your finances in college will set you up for a better financial life in the future. You may even start repaying your student loans before you graduate.
4. Start Making Career Moves
College equips you with the occupational knowledge and skills needed to thrive in a certain profession. But that’s not all you need. There are things, such as hands-on experience and interview preparedness, that college may not give you.
While in school, you should take the initiative to acquire some of those things that aren’t taught in the classroom. For example, you can apply for entry-level jobs in your industry.
Attending an interview will help you become familiar with the interview process. You’ll develop the self-confidence needed to face interviewers later on after graduating.
You could also join a professional association, like Honor Society. There, you’ll find more opportunities to network, as well as helpful professional resources.
Don’t Just Go Through College: Experience It!
College life happens only once – for most people at least. You don’t want to look back and feel you didn’t have the time of your life. As a student, now is the time to lean in and enjoy college.
Remember, books first. Your social life comes a close second. If you can learn how to balance school and social life, all will be well.
And, be sure to hang out in the education section of our blog for more inspiring content!