Monday, December 22, 2014

Five Rules for Surviving Your First Year of College

Ready to begin your post-secondary journey at a Toronto college? The good news is that it's not as hard as media would have you think. The bad news is that it's possible to stumble if you're not prepared. Based on my own freshman experiences, here's five rules I wish I'd known when I began college that you can use to succeed.

1) Figure out what you need to buy in advance
This includes textbooks, pencils, pens, notebooks, clothes, and bags. At the very least, you need to inventory what's left from high school, and verify what's still useable. The same goes for textbooks: You may want to wait and see if a) you really need them, or b) you can't get them for cheaper somewhere else. Regardless, figure it out, and purchase it all well before you arrive for your first day of class.

2) Add an extra half-hour of "getting lost" time
If you're not living on campus, transit will take longer than you think. If you're trying to find where your next class is, it will take longer than you think. If you think you're going to get your readings done in an hour, or an assignment written in two…well, you get the idea. My personal experience is adding an extra 30 minutes to every major task is a good cushion to ensuring you're never late, and meet your deadlines.

3) Get your work done now, for tomorrow, you may be buried
It's a universal truth that life likes to throw curveballs at you, and the best plans will go wrong. There's a reason why I'm repeating this, and it pertains to your work. Let's say you have an essay to be done at the end of the month, and you know for a fact you can write it in a week. You might be tempted to leave it until the final week, and relax before then. But, for all you know, you may get assigned three other things during that final week, or the essay may be harder than you previously thought, or life itself outside the school may get in the way. And when that stuff happens (and it will), you'll be grateful that you did your essay at the beginning of the month.

4) Join some clubs while you can
Despite the scare tactics above, one advantage of your first year is that you'll have more free time than in your upcoming years, so you should take this opportunity to experience campus life through clubs and events. Aside from being a stress-buster, you can begin meeting people and forming a network of peers, something that will be important in the years ahead.

5) Take some weird electives
Depending on your exact program, you'll probably have space your first year to take electives, or random general-education classes to fill up your schedule. This is the time to take things that are odd, or that you don't know how to do, but are curious about. It'll expand your horizons, and may just allow you to discover talents you didn't know you had.

No comments:

Post a Comment