Happy Tuesday! Today’s Back to School Week post is going to be something a little bit different here at Adventures in Polishland. I wanted to share with all of you some of my tips for having a successful and positive college experience. College was a very difficult time in my own personal life. While I loved my classes and professors, I just didn’t fit in with the social atmosphere. I went to a small liberal arts school, and felt isolated and really unhappy my freshman year. It was my first time away from home, and I really missed my family. In addition, my roommate and I completely clashed, so I was uncomfortable in my own room. To top it all off, I don’t drink, so it was extra difficult for me to make friends outside of class and find things to do on the weekends. All of that being said, I tried to make the best of my situation, and by the time I graduated I had a great group of friends, and a lot of positive experiences I can look back on with fond memories. I hope that this post will help those of you just beginning college this year, or those who are struggling to fit in just like I was. Without further ado, let me share five tips for college success and survival!
1. Join an On-Campus Club or Organization
My first tip is what I consider the most important, and that is to join at least one on-campus club or organization. I joined a lot of clubs my freshman year, and even became the president of two of them later on. Not only are clubs a great way to meet classmates with similar interests, but it gives you the opportunity to get out of your dorm room each week. I met some amazing friends through the clubs I was a part of, and got to experience some really amazing events as well. I suggest picking one or two clubs to start, and perhaps even adding a couple more from there. I can guarantee your college will have at least one organization for you, whether it be an intramural sport, political club, or something else.
2. Change Up Your Study Location
Now let’s talk about your studies. That is why you go to college, after all! Many students like to find that one study area where they can go on a regular basis. It’s definitely a good idea to find a study location where you are comfortable, but I recommend having about three or four locations that you rotate on a regular basis. That way, whenever one location isn’t working, you can change it up and go somewhere else. I liked to study in my dorm room, in the library, and in my school’s atrium. The change of scene helped me stay on track, but I was still comfortable studying in each location. I also picked spots that had food available nearby (gotta have that caffeine boost!).
3. Write Letters to Friends and Family
While social media and phone calls are a convenient way to stay in touch with your family and friends back home, I really enjoyed writing letters as well. There is something special about getting something in the mail, especially in today’s world. Make sure to swap addresses with your friends before you leave for college, and try to write to them at least once per month. It might sound silly, but it’s a lot of fun, and you’ll get to know your friends in a new way. You can even save the letters and cards in a scrapbook to look back on them later in life.
4. Take Advantage of School Freebies and Student Discounts
It’s no secret that the price of a college education is ridiculously high, so be sure to take advantage of all the freebies your school offers, as well as student discounts. My college had free laundry, free printing, and free gym facilities. We also had the opportunity to buy discount movie tickets. Moreover, my college had a free shuttle bus to take us to the local Target, grocery store, movie theatre, and train station. I could also go on and on about all the goodies they gave out at events, too. I always took advantage of these freebies and discounts, not only to save money, but to get off campus once in a while. Plus, your tuition is paying for these extra goodies, so make them count! Believe me, I miss having that free laundry big time!
5. Stay True to You
Last but not least, you have to remember to stay true to you. College is a great time to reinvent yourself and to grow as a person. However, never feel pressured to anything you don’t want to do. It was difficult to be one of the few people in college who didn’t drink, but I knew that I would rather be myself than just do what everyone else was doing. During my senior year I decided not to attend many of the senior events that celebrated the countdown to graduation. Looking back four years later, I don’t regret that decision one bit! I much preferred the quiet night in my dorm than feeling uncomfortable at the event. Sometimes it won’t be easy to stay true to you, but always remember to stay safe and never do anything you don’t want to, no matter what your own personal limits may be.
That brings us to the end of this post! I hope you found it helpful as you either begin or continue on your college experience. If you have any questions, or would like more advice on a particular topic, please let me know in the comments! You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to ask a question there. Best of luck to those of you heading back to school!