Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Four Tips for Surviving Your Second Year of College

If you're enrolled in a college in Toronto, and you've made it this far, congratulations. You've taken the first major step on the way to your career. But you're not out of the fire yet, you've still got at least one more year ahead of you. Articles like this are often aimed at new students, under the assumption that they need help adapting to their first year of community college. That's a noble goal, but what about someone who's already completed their first year? The challenges never end, and there are new problems to keep in mind. Based on my own college experience, here's what you need to keep in mind to survive your second year.
  1. Don't get overconfident
    Really, the most important piece of advice is not to think that conquering your first year means you're in the clear. Overconfidence can be a career-killer, and the temptation to let your work habits slide because you think the worst is over is a real danger. The fact is that the coming years will probably involve more work than your first year, and you need to make sure you're still in top form when you get to class.
  2. Prioritize your clubs and extra curriculars, and consider trimming as needed
    Speaking of more work, you're going to find that your time is more valuable than in your first year, and if you joined a lot of clubs and organizations, you may find your schedule too packed to handle. It'll be tough if you've been having fun, but you're going to have to really stop and analyze the amount of free time you have. Class has to come first, and you may have to decide to keep only one club, or reduce the amount of school events you go to, in the name of keeping up with your work. It's tough, but your studies will benefit from it.
  3. Self-analyze to decide if you're still happy with your program
    On the topic of analysis, now that you've spent a year in your program, now's the time to really take a step back and examine if it feels right for you, and if the career you're working on is something you really want to be doing for the rest of your life. If the answer's yes, then keep going. If you're not sure, speak to one of the school's guidance councillors. It's better to switch majors or programs now, rather than years (and dollars) later down the line, and your first year probably gave you enough general education credits that you won't be seriously delayed if you change paths.
  4. Build your network
    A year into your program, you've probably made some friends, and since your classes will be more specifically focused around your program, and less general-education, you'll have even more of a chance to get to know the people in your program. There's an important career-building side to this, as they'll be the beginning of your professional network of industry contacts, something you're going to need for your eventual career.

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