5 College Tips Every Freshman Should Know
When you begin your college career, people like to tell you that it flies by even quicker than high-school. Well… I’m going to be one of those people and let you know that those people are absolutely right. I’ve enjoyed being a university student for this past half-decade, however, there were some bumps in the road. As someone who prides himself on having become a productivity enthusiast, I wanted to write a blog post to break down some advice that I have for any current or new college students. This article can most accurately be described as the “if I had to do it all over again, what would I want to know going into college” article. Here are my top 5 college tips for freshmen.
1. Make the most of every semester
I won’t say that I have any regrets, however, I do believe that I could have made better use of some of my semesters throughout my 5 years. While the old saying goes, it’s not about how you start it’s about how you finish, I do believe that anyone and everyone would like to look back fondly on every day of their college career. For me, I found that as my university experience went on, I became more and more in tune with who I was and how I wanted to live my life.
It’s hard to believe but many students come into college not knowing at all what they would like to do for the rest of their lives while also paying hand over fist for an education catered towards their future. My recommendation to any college student would be to try something new every 2-4 weeks on campus. until you find where you “belong”. While I understand university can be difficult in regards to the studies, scheduling, and adjustment to a more independent lifestyle it is imperative that you as a person make a concerted effort to enjoy what makes college… college.
Fortunately for me, I found what organizations I was going to be in very early into my college experience but the same can’t be said for many. Greek life, club sports, and other groups and organizations are constantly looking for people to join and if you are someone who would like to expand their social circle then I highly recommend you jump at some of those opportunities. There are also smaller events that take place throughout the year on each and every college campus. These events are a great way to meet new people without making any long-term commitments.
For me, this is more reasonable and a great way to try out new things that I haven’t explored before. In my 5 years, I most definitely could have taken more time to attend these events and broaden my horizons. In your 4+ years, I hope that you hear me and get out there!
2. Don’t push off homework
I wouldn’t be the productivity guy if a few of these points didn’t involve advice on what to do with your homework and schedule. While this piece of advice may be self-explanatory, I will add a few points to clarify why it’s so important. First of all and most importantly you need to do this if you don’t want to miss out on anything fun, exciting, or collegey (is that a word I don’t know). I say this because to be blunt the most fun things at university and at life happen at night or after dinner. Now I know the first thing that may come to your mind is the classic college party, but that is not all that I mean. In life, most people work from morning until 5 PM, then they have dinner, and enjoy the rest of their night. With that in mind, it’s important that you stay on top of your studies while also being able to attend what social events are going on when they generally will be.
Sure there will be the odd event during the day that’s going on during the weekend and maybe even the school week, but that’s not what you should be focusing on. Those events can be attended when you plan for them, however keeping a 9-5 routine with your classes, studies and responsibilities will help you manage your academic and social successes very well.
Many of us in college have experienced that afternoon slump where all we want to do is lay in our beds and watch YouTube videos. Besides when you’re watching mine there won’t be many long-term memories you will have from those seemingly harmless afternoons essentially wasting your time. By focusing on getting your work done when you need to you will make more meaningful memories, achieve better grades, and almost never feel the sense of “I wish” when it comes to missing out on opportunities.
3. Wake up Early
While many of you know that I enjoy waking up early… really early… I won’t act like everyone would like to wake up at 5 AM. My preference is that, but it is not for everyone. However, I still am going to recommend an early wake-up time for anyone who reads this article for a few reasons. First and foremost the habit of waking up early is one that is used by an innumerable number of successful people and in my opinion it instills a strong level of discipline in anyone who makes it a part of their daily life. Along with that, waking up early offers you the opportunity to spend a few extra hours completing tasks and taking care of your responsibilities.
A key thing to remember for many of you is that until you reach the end of your college experience, the opportunity to take classes later in the day or at night will not be there. In your first few years of university, upperclassmen are given the priority for class registration and they do not want to take morning classes. Fortunately for you, those early morning classes as a freshman can actually help you start building the habit of waking up a few hours beforehand.
Anytime from 5:00 AM – 7:00 AM in my opinion is a solid time to wakeup and start your day before many others do. By getting up early, you will be able to free up some time to crank out an extra homework assignment, get a workout in, or start building the business you always have wanted. With this early morning wake-up, you also will feel the need to go to bed earlier and have fewer of those late-night study sessions the majority of college students put themselves through. Believe me when I say I have studied that way before and it’s just… it’s not worth it.
4. Do homework between classes
GET IT DONE! One thing I was told going into college that I very much appreciated was this piece of advice. If you hustle to finish your homework throughout the day, there is a pretty good chance that you will be able to do whatever you would like after you finish dinner. In my experience, this piece of advice has held true and I am able to relax on most school nights rather than work up until I am supposed to go to bed.
While the gap times between classes may seem small, it is important to remember that planning and preparation can make those small gaps between your classes extremely productive. By merely planning out when you are going to complete readings and a lot of those assignments that won’t take you more than 30 minutes, you will find so much more free time for yourself later in the day.
While it may seem more fun to just open up your favorite social media app and “relax” between classes, the combined time you can gain by working on homework between classes can honestly be from anywhere between 3 to 7 hours a week. While that number is pretty arbitrary and I do not know your class schedule, it’s no secret that if you attend class 5 days a week with an average of 30 to 90 minutes a day in between those classes that you can make some serious headway on your homework during that downtime. While you most definitely will need to utilize some of that time to eat lunch during the day or grab some coffee as a pick-me-up I have always found that the people I knew who utilized this time the best often time had the best grades and the least amount of problems sleeping.
5. Bunch Classes Together / Take Night Classes
In my life, I have found that one of the main killers of productivity is what I like to call buffer time. Buffer time can be best described as the time gaps between the events on your schedule that are just small enough for you not to be able to get any productive work done. This can be passing periods, driving to and from work, or any other kind of time where you just will not be able to accomplish tasks that are on your agenda. As mentioned earlier, by the end of your college career you will be able to have the highest priority when it comes to scheduling your classes. Due to this, you are in the position to schedule your classes the most time effectively possible.
In my opinion, the best way to go about this is by scheduling as many of your classes in a row as possible and/or taking night classes. The reason for this is because buffer time happens when you go from your room or place of study to class. In my experience, the most time effective semester I ever had was when I only went to class three times a week.
I had 3 Tuesday / Thursday day classes, a Tuesday night class, and a Wednesday night class. While it may sound like a lot to some of you, I’d like to remind you of the fact that in your pre-college education, you were in school for 7 hours a day. Now I know that wasn’t exactly fun… it does set you up to be pretty used to long school days. Now imagine you were able to emulate a high school schedule however it was only 3 days long.
THAT’S AMAZING. Let’s just be real about this. Outside of just the productivity aspect that’s really cool to think about. I’ve had that type of schedule many times and I can tell you first hand you will achieve so much more on the days you do not have classes if you schedule your days properly. My recommendation is to try your best to have a schedule with class on fewer days so you can be more productive and have the opportunity to do more on the days you don’t have class.
College can be anything you want it to be. There are nearly endless majors to choose from, infinite memories to be had and plenty of friends to make if you make the most of it. While I may not know everything about what it means to live the best college life for you, I have learned a thing or two over five years. I hope this article served as a good reference point for those of you who are excited to begin your journey and those who would like to improve on their current experience. Thank you all for reading this article and I hope it helps you on your journey towards building a better life.