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13 Tips for New College Students

13 Tips for New College Students

College is the time to try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. The things is, it can all fall apart if you don’t have a clear idea of what you are getting into. Be sure to make the best of it with these tips for new college students.

1. Go to class

Oh, it will be so tempting to sleep in. After all, you’re a college student! You can do what you want, right? Well, you sure can if you want to scramble to make up for it later on. It is much easier to hold a GPA than to attempt to bring it up!

2. Know what you can handle course-wise

It is much better to finish a semester ‘late’ (who doesn’t these days?) than to have a nervous breakdown because of over-scheduling yourself. In the bigger picture, a few months or even a year does not make that much of a difference, unless you want to brag about how you finished school on time.

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3. Get involved

You might be attending school in a different state, or even in your own state. Either way you can afford to expand your interests and meet new people. College is an easy way to make contacts and new friends!

4. Make friends in your program who are ahead of you

This way you might be able to borrow their old tests, notes and/or lab reports. This is not cheating, but using your resources and contacts wisely. Many sororities and fraternities have these resources available, some even in database form! You can trade off with this friend or do something nice like bake him/her cookies for their help.

5. On that note, consider joining a sorority or fraternity

I was/am a nontraditional student (about five to seven years older than most students at my university), so this was not quite in my realm, but I was often jealous of the many opportunities afforded to these students. Yes, you have to go to social events. Yes, you might get categorized as a snob or fill-in-the-inappropriate-name-blank, but you really can benefit from the social network and resources (such as old tests).

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6. Buy your books online or from a friend

Holy cow, the universities make a boatload off of textbooks! Using one book for a semester (even with selling it back) can cost $100 plus! Many companies like Amazon sell textbooks cheaper than at universities and offer gift cards at a decent rate to sell them back. I had a great experience with the buyback program…much better than selling a book back for next to nothing at the school store!

7. Keep in contact with your family

Yes, you should make contacts and friends at college. This does not mean you should ignore your family who likely supports you, or encouraged you to get to where you are today. Give them a call, Skype them, send them a card, or do something during the semester to let them know you are thinking about them.

8. Keep in contact with old friends

One of my biggest regrets in life was intentionally falling out of touch with high school friends. I had joined a group of people who convinced me that the only important thing was their group and if friends or family did not understand, they should be cut off (read: I got into a pyramid-like scheme). I missed out on so much, and now the stream of Facebook updates from my high school friends makes me sad.

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Sometimes something similar happens if you meet the man or woman ‘of your life’ who you can’t stand being away from. Break away and connect with the friends who have been there for you forever. You can undo some of the damage if you lose touch, but it will never really be the same.

9. Learn from mistakes

If you do something stupid (like join a pyramid-like scheme), learn from your mistakes. College is a time not only for learning about Chemistry and the correct way to cite a source, but for learning about life. Learning how to come back from mistakes is a big part of the college experience.

10. Be silly

You have a little bit of margin during this time to get away with crazy things and not look too foolish (hey, it’s college!) Use this time to go on adventures and do silly things that likely will be looked down upon later in life. This is also a great way to bond with your new friends.

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11. Be careful

Yes, have new experiences. Yes, be silly. Do not do things that you know might endanger your life, health or self-image.

12. Learn how to balance and prioritize

Time management skills are completely necessary to explore all that college life has to offer. There will always be activities, social events, school events, trips, homework, and tests for which to study. Part of life is managing the time that we have, so my advice would be to learn this early on in your college career.

Check out the article: Why To Do Lists Don’t Work and How to Change That

13. Learn about yourself

Figure out what you want out of life. You don’t need to know right away, but be thinking about this as you experience new things, meet new people, and explore the world of knowledge.

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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