Whether you are new or a seasoned vet to college, there are some things you’ve got to keep up with while in school. We’ve got a list of things that can help you get through the best times of your life!
1. Sense of reality. Many students (and others) are so used to spending a lot of time on the internet. We post to social networks and post photos of ourselves, many times without considering how that might be perceived by people we don’t intend to see them. People use your web accounts to vet you for jobs while you are in school and after you graduate. Lock down your accounts that you want to remain private, don’t post photos that can come back and bite you later (even if account is private), don’t share your password with others, and let others know not to tag you on foolishness. Do not add a location to your activities. Do not friend people you do not know. And then get up and go outside and interact with people in the real world without posting it all over the internet later.
2. A plan. Everyone isn’t a type A personality. We acknowledge that. But you’ve got to figure out why you’re in college and what you want to do after you graduate. It may take a couple years to figure out but the answer drives everything else you do. If you’re a super planner you might draw your plan out down to what you’ll do every day to get somewhere but for most people you should at least have some basics in mind. This plan might include your graduation plan your advisor helps you put together, but it does not stop there. Include extracurricular activities, not-required internships or job experiences, ways to pay for school or fun, and taking care of yourself. Put those plans in a place where you can pull them up later to revise them or note your progress like a to-do app or Evernote. We’ll cover some of these methods in about 3 weeks
3. An understanding of the library. With the growth of the internet and the increase of websites that allow you to find information on the web, many students think they can go four years without ever stepping foot in the library and that they’ll do fine. You might pass without doing that, but you won’t be the best you can be. Libraries have so many resources that are helpful for learning and are regularly overlooked. Librarians are super heroes and can help you find all kinds of information, put that information together in a way that makes sense and make sure you appropriately cite your sources. With and without technology. If a class doesn’t take you to the library and introduce you to a librarian, take the time to go and find out for yourself. You won’t regret it.
4. Your health. When you’re on your own you have to deal with your health on your own. You might even find out about some health conditions you were previously unaware you had. That’s normal. Take advantage of your student health center to get annual checkups and necessary vaccinations. Keep track of your health via the web and a smartphone – it makes it easy to fill out forms and answer questions from a doctor! If you are or plan to be sexually active (or even if there is a remote remote possibility or you don’t think you’re doing an activity that counts as sexual activity), keep a stock of condoms (male or female), birth control and pregnancy tests. Student health can usually help with those. If you’ve got a gym on campus, go. Put your textbook up on the tray on the treadmill and study while you walk or jog or listen to a lecture while you work the free weights. Find a place to get some exercise in that doesn’t require a gym. Friends can make you happy (hence less stress) so find some new ones at the gym or in the dorm or at your apartment complex and hang out. If you drink, be careful and always go to parties (and leave said parties) with a friend you trust. If you are feeling stressed or sad or anything, make sure you locate the counseling options on campus. If you came to school with a medical condition, be sure to keep up with appointments. Your student health services can help you locate doctors if they cannot provide the services. And eat well!! There are some staples in a student’s diet (ramen!) but please find some fruit and vegetables every day. They’ll keep you more alert than a Red Bull.
5. Good headphones. Earbuds are great for commuting or for working out, but studying or watching a movie without disturbing others or being disturbed means you need a little bit more. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones are a great thing to own. Tune out all those extra sounds and focus on what you’re doing. The best headphones for sound might be open headphones but that means other people can hear everything. And most students don’t own a device that is capable of playing the absolute best sound on earth. So you’re still not getting the best sound even if you own those Beats headphones. Find a closed pair with noise cancelling, drop the volume to a healthy level, and stay on cloud nine! Keep an eye on them though – a really good pair might disappear pretty quickly. And while you’re finding a pair, find a nice device to plug them into
What is something you would recommend for everyone to have for college? Join us next week for our post on Emergency Preparedness on a Budget!