After finishing a year of college, I’ve experienced great successes, as well as some terrible mistakes. People always give new students tips on what is right and wrong for a college student, yet so few of us follow through. My first mistake was not getting enough sleep, which is vital to receiving a great education, and ultimately it affected some of my grades in the end. Without sleep, it is much more difficult to retain information and the motivation to study. For example,I had a friend in the honors program who maintained a 4.0 all year, and not once did he grant his body less than eight hours of rest. Being well rested, he was able to have the energy to exercise and eat three meals a day, both of which I failed to do as well. It isn’t that I, or any of my similar friends, wanted to deprive ourselves of a healthy lifestyle, but simply lack of effort in factoring health into time management. Studying and sleeping are two of the most important aspects of college life, both of which it seems there is never enough time for. There is also so much pressure on freshmen college students to join clubs, make friends, and get spectacular grades, making it difficult to maintain a healthy balance of sleep and exercise.
Another huge issue that I had in college, as did my roommate, was in the area of spending. Since I attended a school close to Providence during my first year, my friends and I always wanted to go into the city and do new things. The problem with that is the fact that eating multiple meals in the city is not quite as financially-friendly as eating on the designated meal plan. While it may seem tempting to go out and do tons of new things with the credit or debit card that many students are using for the first time, it is important to remember that eventually the funds will be depleted or the balance will have to be paid off. To avoid this problem with food, I suggest always sticking to the meal plan if it is an option. Your bank account and parents will thank you.
Here are a couple more tips for new students:
- Rest. Get a solid eight hours of sleep every night. Although it may seem impossible to manage friends, studying, eating, and basic hygiene, giving your body a break should not be the victim of your schedule. Sleep well and try to exercise on a regular basis.
- Studying. The rule of thumb is to study three hours outside of class for every credit hour spent in class. For example, a student taking a 3-credit course should spend 9 hours per week studying for the class. Even if there is no homework due, dedicate this time to review. Spending this much time per course will help you to retain the material and avoid burning out from cramming the day before exams.
- Dorm Life. Your roommate does not have to be your friend, but that doesn’t mean being disrespectful is acceptable. Set boundaries and agreements on day one to avoid future conflicts, posting the rules of the room on the wall. As long as roommates respect each other’s needs, there is rarely a problem.
- Parties. College is meant to be fun, so know how to party if you’re going to do it. The worst thing that you can do at a party is drink too much. Remember that you do not have to drink a lot at any party, though if you do plan on it, your best bet would be to alternate between alcohol and another substance. It takes three hours for your body to digest one drink, so overworking your liver to prevent hangovers and potentially dangerous situations.
- Finances. Avoid spending money if you don’t have to; colleges offer meal plans for a reason, so take advantage of them! Most college students do not work during the academic year, and are generally better off not doing so. Keep track of what you spend and set a weekly budget so that you don’t run out of money on your debit card or max out your student credit card.
*This was a guest blog post. If you are a college student and would like to become a contributor to Postify’s blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.