Being a first generation student I wish someone had told me these ten hacks that helped me make the most out of my time in college. From what internships to take to what professors to avoid like the plague, college is all what you make of it.
Take my hand as I walk you through the spiritual and mental guidance on how to thrive on this collegiate journey of yours.
1. The Joy Luck Club IRL
College can be a daunting and massive place where you feel like there’s an endless sea of people but how do you find yours? To find your tribe follow your interests. Whether that be debating, fishing, anime or politics there is bound to be a club dedicated to that. The best part is you’ll automatically have something in common with these people- and sure it may be the love of free food and merch but hey, that’s a start!
2. Get Your Internship On
Think of internships as taste tastes to future careers. College is the perfect time to follow your passions and see which one is most fulfilling. You may have an idea of how one career path works but an internship in it will crystalize that notion. It’s like how you try on clothes before you make the final purchase.
Try on all the internships that make your heart flutter and mind wander until you find the perfect fit.
3. Your Professors Are There To Help You
I know at times it seems as if your professors were sent from hell to ruin both your GPA and sanity but odds are they probable weren’t. A lot of your professors would love to see you succeed so don’t be afraid to approach them for help. Making your struggles and doubts known can help them give you the right tools to passing, hey maybe even acing, the class.
After all, not all of them are tenured, so know that your success matters as much to them it does to you.
4. Missing One Party Will Not Be Social Suicide
I know it feels like the end of the world when your homies are going to that midnight rager while your raging hard to finish that paper due at midnight but know that there more good times to be had! One party won’t define your life and especially not one that you sacrificed for all the right reasons.
Trust me when I say the turn-up will be even sweeter once your celebrating turning in that 10 page paper on the science of relativity and can begin to flush it all out of your brain bank.
5. Take Advantage Of Campus Resources
I didn’t know there was a student clinic until I was coughing up a lung and dragging my sad, sorry ass to it. I give you this vivid anecdote to tell you that there are plenty of tools at your disposal, just gathering dust waiting for you to use them.There could be special study lounges with full printing access or clinic that won’t charge you an arm and a leg for birth control.
Ask around your campus or check your school’s website to find these hidden gems. After all that tuition money you paid isn’t going to help developing countries, so make the most of it!
6. Mental Health Is Key
When your running around trying to be the student possible, stay caught up with friends and get 8 hours of sleep it feels like you’re in a losing battle against time and space. But, I assure you, you got this. You have to keep your mental health at the forefront even when it feels like the deadlines are about to tackle you to the ground, that’s why extensions exist.
Now I’m not saying to fool around and try to get away with it, I mean that there is a solution to every problem. You have to be mindful on this journey and check in with yourself to make sure you’re not burning the candles on both ends.
If you feel inundated with work or sad and stressed reach out for help. There are plenty of people who would love to help you ride this wave.
7. Bust Out The Planner
You have five papers due on Friday, two finals on Monday and Melanie’s bday party on Saturday *cue hyperventilating*. How are you going to do it all? First of all, breathe! Secondly, its time to organize! Get yourself organized by writing down due dates and finals in your calendar so you can at least have some concept of a time line going on.
You don’t have to get forty colored pens and three different types of sticky notes to be successful- everyone’s organization skills are different.The key is to find what works for you and run with it! Run right to that A…or B, or C because hey those all get degrees, in theory.
8. Find Your Sweet Spot
Yes, find your fav, local froyo shop for the days that seem never-ending but also find the spots on campus that bring you joy, relaxation or the perfect atmosphere to get your study on *Alex, play Mulan’s “Let’s Get Down to Business”*. Being able to have places that you can associate with certain aspects, like a nook that’s perfect for reading or a library desk with the best view then you’re more likely to get work done.
So whether its the closest Chick-fil-A or finding the comfiest chair you can nap on between classes, create your own space on campus.
9. Communication Is Key
This is a golden rule of life so remember it! Tattoo it on your fore-arm or write it down, whatever is more your style because I promise this will help you avoid and get out of so many predicaments. Whether it be with your roomie-who will not stop blasting the Ariana Grande to the wee hours of the night, or going to a professors’ office hours for that lil’ extra helping hand- being able to communicate what you need is key.
Practicing being mindful and being able to articulate what you’re thinking are valuable life-long skills. So get your chitty, chatty, boom, boom on.
10. Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Yourself
If I could leave you with one lesson it’s be yourself! There is no one exactly like you and that’s what makes you brilliant. The world deserves to see your shine and for those who think its too bright, that’s sunglasses were invented for!
You could spend your entire college career trying to fit in someplace you aren’t comfortable or you can be yourself and fit into your space like a missing puzzle piece. I promise the right people will love and uplift whoever and however you are, so be authentically you.