Going into my sophomore year, I have discovered that returning to college is vastly different than arriving here for the first time as a freshman. I already have an established group of friends, as well as a wide range of activities that I was anxious to return to. There is no awkward adjustment period; instead I was able to jump right back into the college lifestyle I developed over the course of my freshman year.
However, there are still some universal challenges that I feel like all college students go through, whether you’re a freshman or a senior, so I’ve decided to compile a list of tips for surviving the school year.
Tip One: Learn to Balance Your Time
This is a problem I still encounter as a sophomore. As a freshman, it is definitely harder trying to balance social life, homework, and activities, but it is certainly possible. However, I was able to learn what worked and what didn’t in terms of balancing the various aspects of my daily life. For example, I realized that getting work done during the day is so much easier for me than waiting until night. During the day, I often find myself with a huge amount of free time, which I always managed to spend doing nothing, and then it would come to the evening and I’d be spending hours with friends instead of finishing up and essay or studying for a test. So, if you find yourself with an hour free between classes, sit down and do some reading, or maybe write a couple paragraphs for your next essay. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
And along the same lines, don’t overwhelm yourself. I know it may be tempting to involve yourself with seven different clubs, or begin working three part time jobs all while taking your four classes, but trust me, it is so easy to become overwhelmed by doing this. Make sure that you have enough time to breathe in between all of your activities. You have four years here, which means you have plenty of time to work various jobs or try different student activities. You don’t need to throw everything on your plate starting first semester of freshman year.
Tip Two: Study Groups
One thing I discovered freshman year was how helpful study groups are. Not only is it a great way to productively spend time with friends, it is also a great way to learn material by bouncing concepts and questions back and forth. Especially for COM students, I found that this is a great way to get through the COM101 tests.
Tip Three: Don’t Procrastinate
This is a huge problem for a lot of students. I know that I still procrastinate on things like readings and essays, but it is super helpful to get an early start. My New School Year’s Resolution was to begin my essays at least a week before it was due (and that’s still cutting it close!) I’ve found that even this small head-start on assignments dramatically reduces the stress that comes with essays, as I know I won’t be up until four a.m. the night before trying to write my way through a paper about the ancient history of Rome.