Before the end of last school year, you repeatedly told yourself: “I’ll be productive over the summer. I’ll start learning a new language, read three books, and keep my mind sharp.” Yeah, that didn’t happen. I can keep talking about the summer slide, but there is no point in describing something we are all familiar with. When I try to remember my summers in between college years, all I can think of is meeting new people, dizzy nights and lazy days on the beach. Who would even think about destroying that with learning?
Oh well, I can’t say my strategies were proper. Throughout my last years in college, I realized that too many preparations were not even necessary. Today I’ll share my 5 tips on how you can get ready for a new year on college campus. No textbooks involved!
1. Work on Your Social Skills
If you want to use the summer productively without being forced to learn anything, then you’ll love my first tip: work on your soft skills. You have tons of opportunities to meet new friends before the new semester begins. Don’t have prejudices! Meet people from different countries and talk to them. When you learn how to be relaxed in any environment, campus life and team projects at college will be a breeze. You’ll also be more capable to communicate with your teachers.
Go ahead: socialize and express yourself as much as possible before the new college term starts.
2. Practice Time Management
When you don’t have any research papers to write and exams to prepare for, time management suddenly becomes enjoyable. You can experiment with some time-managing apps before you start college, so you’ll be able to balance the schedule effortlessly when it becomes really messy. Remember The Milk is a personal favorite of mine. Please don’t buy a fancy organizer. That’s a certain way of looking like a total weirdo.
3. Be Friendly to Your Professors
If you meet professors during orientation week, you’ll appreciate the familiar faces when classes start. Behind that facade of intellectuality and frozen expressions, you’ll reveal an actual human!
Caution: don’t try to turn a professor into a friend. Don’t invite him/her for drinks at the bar. Just cultivate a relationship associated to the classes, projects, and exam material, but break the distance with natural attitude.
4. Learn How to Stay Safe
If you don’t feel safe at campus, you won’t enjoy living there. Imagine walking back after a late night with your friends. You should be aware of all routes and surroundings, so you’ll know how to find your way. If you are a freshman, this is not as simple as it sounds. College campuses are huge! I got lost countless times just because I was too careless to study the map. Learn from my mistakes: explore the area in daylight, so you’ll know it like the back of your hand before you get in a scary situation.
Another important thing: keep your money safe. I would recommend against keeping a lot of cash in your room, but I won’t tell you why. If I start talking about roommates who steal, this would turn into a very bitter article.
5. Discover the Sources of Academic Help
Essays, research papers, case studies, book reviews… you’ll get stuck with them sooner or later. The library won’t save you, so you need to explore your options before getting into a race with time. There are plenty of online services that help you brainstorm, find inspiration, get the needed sources, and even complete the paper. Get familiar with them, so you won’t need to search for them when the stress levels are high.
And here is my final, most valuable advice to students who are about to start a new college term: relax! The system does require superhuman efforts, but you shouldn’t stress out until you absolutely have to. Always have the right people around you; friends and supporters can make your life easier.