FPLA Educational series: College freshman survival guide

college freshman survival 1

If you are a college bound recent HS graduate, you must be looking forward to head off to your dream University and regain control of your life! FREEDOM! With freedom comes responsibility (Eleanor Roosevelt). Being a college freshman is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. The college freshman year is challenging for students academically, socially, and emotionally. College life could be rewarding, provided you are aware of the following facts and take steps to avoid the usual rookie mistakes.

  • Prepare, plan and execute: In college, classes are fast paced, with heavy course content. Professors are tasked to complete the courses on time and prepare the students for upper level courses. Consequently, professors in large class settings, usually do not have time to wait for students to catch up. The syllabus provided at the start of the course, lays the framework for the student to follow. Therefore, at the beginning, carefully read the syllabus, where needed, ask clarifications from the professor. Plan your schedule ahead. These minors, but significant steps will help you earn top grades. If you receive and maintain top grades in all the courses during your freshman year, you are on the path to success.
  • Time management: Time management skill will take you a long way in the college and the rest of your life. The single most important habit that you must develop is to keep an agenda and meticulously follow it. Allocate time for each course and stick to your plan Mark all the exams and due dates on your agenda. Do not expect the professors to remind you of the exams, homework, attendance, or presentation due dates. “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” ― Napoleon Hill,
  • Read ahead: Read the topics ahead of the class. It will help you understand the lecture better. By attending classes regularly, you will know where to focus on the chapter that is covered in the class. If your professor posts class notes ahead of time on the learning management system, write notes under each slide. When you write class notes, you are actively engaged in the class and information retention ability improves.
  • Do not cram for the exams. Cramming does not help, rather, it hampers your learning. You gain knowledge incrementally, not overnight. Regular study habits, keeping pace and remaining a step ahead of the class ensures success. College courses being content heavy, effective test preparation happens over a period.
  • The fun part. University is also the place to foster friendships that may last a lifetime. Therefore, spend time with peers. Friends help explore possibilities and deal with homesickness. So, be outgoing and have fun!

University is a place for self-discovery, so embark on this exciting journey! Good luck with your endeavor.

About the author: Dr. Sarkar is a faculty at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL. She is passionate about the impact of science in our life.

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