I will be going back to college for my last year in Journalism but I have already completed college prior to that (culinary management at George Brown College.) I have some tips for the people who are about to start college for the first time. Most of the tips can be applied to any college student but the helpful links I will be providing are mostly Canadian based because that is where I am but it will give you an idea of what to look for where you are. So let’s get started!
Don’t buy your textbooks at your school! Overpriced books are not fun, $130 for a book you probably open twice, no thank you. Look for used books from other students on, kijiji or a website likehttp://www.bookmob.ca : this website provides a service where you can rent the textbook for a cheaper price for the semester, when you are done send it back, you can also buy it for a cheap price too. The best function of this website is you can sell the book back when you are done with it. You can also look on Facebook for a textbook swap group associated with your college.
Buy smart: When it comes to backpacks, I say get a good one. Back support is important but when it comes to lined paper- go to the dollar store! 200 sheets is a $1.00 compared to other stores where it is $5.99. Paper is paper, get what’s cheapest. You can do the same thing for binders, pencil cases, paperclips, the little things. I’d suggest getting pens elsewhere but the pencils at the dollar store are good. You don’t need to break the bank when buying school supplies and honestly half the stuff you buy will stay in your locker all year.
Get proper sleep: I know, its impossible and I failed hard at this one when I was in college. You spend all day at school and at night when you should be sleeping, you are doing all the things that you want to do. Catching up on shows, homework, going to parties, etc. Sleep is very important for brain function and health and you should try to get some sleep. It will help you improve your memory which will come in handy for exam week!
Friends and school: When you start school you want to have the right kind of friends at your side. Though friends who are “cool” will be fun to be around, if they aren’t serious about school. Don’t bother. As much as you say you will stay on track, you won’t. I made that mistake too. It sucks to get half way through a semester at George Brown College with the wrong crowd and then I had to work my butt off the rest of the semester just to catch up/ It’s not worth it because at the end of school, most of them aren’t going to be there.
Teachers: When it comes to the teachers you either absolutely love them or you hate them to your core. If you don’t like your teacher, suck it up. Get your work done, get it over with. You don’t want to fail just because you don’t like someone. Teachers that you love, make sure you fill out the surveys they send out at the end of courses and praise them because usually teachers that are miserable are teachers that aren’t appreciated. Plaster a smile on your face and be nice.
Make a budget: I know you think you don’t need one. You will be careful. That morning coffee you buy every day before school, it’s just two dollars but that’s about $140 per semester and that’s just one coffee a day. Most students I know have two with a sandwich or a muffin. Plus a daily amount of junk food, lunch, other drinks. You will waste a lot of money frivolously without even thinking twice because its only 2 dollars. Make a budget of how much you will spend on food/drinks at school for the week. Stick to it. Trust me.
Working while at school: Be careful, don’t spread yourself to thin. You need time to rest too. I know that some people have to work while in school to pay for it which is understandable, school isn’t cheap but don’t sacrifice too much of your spare time to work because you will burn yourself out quickly.
Get involved: Join clubs, sports teams, etc. Its nice to be a part of something in the school and it helps you make contacts for the future.
Grants/Bursaries/Scholarships: Apply for them all, even if you think you won’t qualify apply! You can apply through your school and there are also websites outside of school that offer some such as http://www.studentawards.com. Every little thing helps!
Other tips: Take notes, study often, use your agenda, make friends, make use of all the college has to offer. Use the college gym, Get to know all the people in your classes so that when group projects come up, you know who to choose. Find your favorite study spot on campus. Try not to miss any classes but if you have to, let the teacher know in advance.
The last tip I have for you is HAVE FUN! It’s college, it will probably be one of the best times in your young life so make the most of it.