College Freshman 101 You Should Know
Respect Authority and Self
After college, if you think your friends are your besties then guess what your lecturers, professors, and school administrators are your older siblings, so pay them due respect during the time you spend with them. This may sound ridiculous but let me explain. After graduatIon on several occasions, I had to contact past professors for recommendations for career and educational advancement. From experience, I have yet to see a company or an educational institution request recommendation letters from past classmates, acquaintances, family, or college friends so keep that in mind next time you feel like disrespecting any of them.
Be sexually smart. Set standards you will be proud to talk about after college. If you are going to mess around be smart about it. While you may find your life partner in college don’t count on it. Some relationships are not meant to last more than a semester so don’t take them seriously or make them get you out of character. Love yourself enough to walk away from “situationalships” that are unhealthy – physically, spiritually, financially and emotionally. Respect and stay true to yourself and your standards.
Your grades are going to really matter for your first job and in certain industries second and third and so on. So unless your family, friends and network associates have very strong connections in the field you are trying to launch your career attend class regularly and do what is required of you in order to excel.
Still, on the topic of grades – extracurricular activities are not an excuse for bad grades nor is it a substitute for good grades. The competition is tough in some fields and almost impossible in other fields. So, take responsibility for your grades – it should be your main priority. Unfortunately, assessing grades are still the main evaluation method used to measure an individual’s understanding of a subject matter, thus bad grades will hardly leave a good impression on your potential employer no matter how many club titles you held or your score on the football field. Some of those students who are competing with you for the same jobs have managed to maintain good grades, participate in a few or many extra extracurricular activities and still drive to work after class so don’t get distracted stay focus. Additionally, bad grades are forever – they don’t disappear, so ensure you put your best foot forward.
Goals and standards
Set goals and standards for yourself and try your best to stick to them. Why? College is a training ground where you learn a little more about yourself. You have the freedom to choose your type of lifestyle with little to no parental advice or influence. This is a mock version of the type of freedom you will have living on your own after college. So if you develop habits of not setting goals and standards for yourself it will be challenging to develop these necessary life habits after you graduate when you start living on you own where you have even greater freedom. So use this time to develop good habits that will last you a lifetime.
Value the true friendships you develop. Main word there true. These individuals will be your true advocates after you cross that stage. They turn into family and provide a source of support during the happiest and saddest times in your life. Your other friendships will cease as time progress, mainly because it’s the end of their storyline in your life. Learn to accept this quickly and more on.
Join a few groups and network like you’re crazy! This is going to be very valuable to you when you graduate, especially if your grades are not what they need to be. They are going to be very valuable allies in your quest in finding that first job. People generally like to work with people they like and feel comfortable with, so if you’re able to develop a great relationship with a few in your network they might be more accepting about a lack of job experience, extracurricular activities or not too stellar grades.
Start building credit if you can but don’t be caught in the credit card web! There will be many opportunities to apply for credit but you don’t need to apply for them all. Get a store card from a store selling items you rarely need. This will decrease the chances of you going overboard purchasing items that you probably really don’t need. Make regular payments and pay balances in full if you can. However, most importantly DON’T get a credit card if you know you can’t make payments. This is one sure way of screwing your credit before you even started establishing one.
Don’t overspend financial aid or loan funds, especially if you have to repay. The college debt bubble is a serious problem you will want to afford at all cost. Save money on purchasing textbooks! If you can avoid the school bookstore do so. Most of their prices are higher than what you will pay elsewhere. Amazon is a great website where used textbooks could be purchased and soft or hard versions of textbooks could be rented at a significantly lower price.
Apply for scholarships you qualify for. There are many sources online that will guide you to scholarship donors. Be proactive in finding extra free money to pay for your college degree. You will be very happy if you do because repaying college loans are no fun.
Internship and Part-time
Don’t wait till the last two years to get an internship apply now. Gaining job experience is vital and directly affects the type of job and compensation package offered after graduation. The best sources for finding an internship are your school career center or network and the school organizations directly relating to your major. So being active in the organizations you join will help you network, some cases help you pay for school and be a great resource in helping you find your first internship.
Get a part-time job if you can. It’s a great source of income and will help you develop your soft skills like no other. It will also look good on your résumé if you were unable to attain an internship during college.
Develop Tech skills
Become proficient in the using the Microsoft programs. They will be very helpful as you progress in your career. Get certification in the programs that are directly related to your field of study if you can. Also, find out about the type of software used in your field and gain knowledge about them. Being technology savvy is going to make you a more valuable team player to your company. Knowledge and experience in using certain software and is a great way to boost your résumé if you don’t have stellar grades, extracurricular activities showing leadership skills and job experience.
Get that degree as quickly as possible. Your five years by your competitors three years with a similar background is not going to earn you any brownie points. Become very knowledgeable about the classes you need to complete to graduate on time. This might sound simple like no big deal, but don’t depend solely on your advisers to tell you about the classes you need to complete for your degree. While they are responsible for guiding you remember this is primary your journey, not theirs, so make sure you have a solid plan about what classes you are going to take and when. Make it a priority to find out which semesters each class is offered and the prerequisite for each class. Taking the wrong classes will dramatically delay your graduation date and this is one of the details employers will notice on your résumé.
Enjoy and Have Fun
This is probably going to be the best time of your life! If you doubt me wait till you start your first job and real world responsibilities start to kick in. Enjoy eating your noodles, enjoy living in your shoe box dorm room, enjoy taking “pointless” required classes and enjoy completing the “busy work” that have absolutely nothing to do with your career field because all this is easy work! Yes, easy work, the real world is ten times harder than all these things that are going to bug you while you’re in college. Ensure you attend some college parties that’s a must do apart from attending classes. Attending these events will create a great source of memories you can depend on while you sit in your apartment waiting on your pizza delivery because you are too tired after work to cook.
Keeping in touch and Freshman 20
Finally, call your parents regularly! Let them know how much you appreciate their support they will be happy and grateful when you do. Also, pay attention to what you eat and be active because the freshman 20 is not a college myth it is real!
So with all that said just be responsible for your education. It’s a very expensive endeavor considering all the money and time needed. So ensure you get something valuable out of it because you can’t get a refund of money or time if your end result is unsatisfactory.
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