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First Year Students: 12 Steps to Survive College

(The Verge) – College is a very exciting experience whether you have recently graduated from high school or are a full-time working mom or dad hoping to advance your career. For many students, college can be stressful. The pressure to earn good grades, graduating at the top of your class so you can pursue your dream job to pay off your student loans is going to be a weight on your shoulders. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do in order to get through college.
1. Utilize School Resources
Most colleges and universities are bursting with resources to make your experience easier and more interesting. Some useful resources include (but probably aren’t limited to): The Library, Tutoring Center, Computer Labs, Career Center, Health and Counseling Center and Financial Services. At Monmouth, take advantage of The Pollak Theater, Art Exhibitions at the Joan and Robert Rechnitz Hall, Special Collections at the Library and the Provost Film Series for enriching entertainment.
2. Go to Class Prepared
It can be tempting to skip class when no one is looking over your shoulder, but the old cliché is true: You’re only hurting yourself. There’s no guarantee that all of the material in class will be covered in the readings and missing classes may leave you stranded when it comes to essay or exam time. Make sure that you also prepare for class each time so that you’re ready to actively engage in the discussion.
3. Manage Your Time
In addition to your new workload, you’ll find that college puts an incredible number of demands on your time. Managing them all carefully can truly make or break your experience. When you’re planning out your week, make sure that you set aside enough time each day for studying, socializing and taking care of yourself. Students who work on campus have the additional task of balancing their work schedules while taking 12 or more credits per semester.

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4. Be Thrifty
Buying books from the bookstore can be costly and not as effective, as most students are trying to save the money they earned while working over the summer. Websites like, and other online resources can help you save money. These websites can also be useful when trying to sell back your books instead of turning to the bookstore, which can only give you 10-15% back from the original price of the book.
5. Get Organized
You’re likely to have more assignments than ever before in college and you can’t rely on your professors to remind you when something is due. Get an app for your phone – there are even many free ones at the App store that will sync your class schedule, assignment deadlines and exams. It can also be useful to break down larger projects into small, manageable goals by setting yourself mini-deadlines along the way.
6. Perfect Your Study Techniques
Even the most successful high school students often need to completely revise their studying styles when they get to college. You’ll want to find a specific system that works for you, but any approach you take should involve sticking to a routine. You may also want to consider forming a study group – peer pressure can be a great way to make sure that you get your work done.
7. Take Thorough Notes
A lot of information will get thrown at you during lectures and the best way to absorb it all is to take notes. You won’t be able to write down every word, so get familiar with short hand techniques and quick outlines with bullet points on important words and phrases. Make sure to date your notes at the top of every page in order to stay organized.
8. Do Your Reading
Read the novels assigned in class. It is essential for success in college classes. It can also be helpful to use sticky notes or a highlighter to mark passages that you found particularly important or confusing.
9. Complete an Internship
If you’re not already working, consider pursuing an internship. These positions offer you a chance to try out a profession and find out if you’ll really like it while adding valuable experience to your resume. Don’t wait until the last minute to fulfill this requirement. It will be more valuable to make the time and meet with your adviser to figure out what is the best option for your particular major. Make sure you go to career services for more information on internships and ex-ed opportunities.
10. Stay Healthy
Stress can affect your mental and physical health and, in turn, letting your health suffer can have negative consequences for your schoolwork. Make sure to get enough sleep, cook healthy meals and incorporate some basic stress reduction techniques like regular physical exercise, or even activities like meditation (Yoga) or breathing exercises.
11. Master Your Finances
Money management can be challenging, but if you learn to do it well in college you’ll have a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life. Map out a budget for yourself, including books, food, bills and entertainment expenses, and stick to it.
It can also be beneficial to seek out sources of financial aid in addition to loans and grants. A Web search can turn up hundreds of scholarships related to your field of study.
12. Broaden Your Horizons
Personal development is another important part of college and there are tons of opportunities to explore new things outside of class. Depending on your interests, you might join a student club, run for student government or try out for a sports team. College can also offer many low-cost travel opportunities – contact your advisor to learn more about study abroad programs.
So take to your college life with this formidable knowledge, and live life loud!
One day soon, you will reach this gratifying level in education. Just follow some simple tips. Image taken from: