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Five things I wish I knew before starting college

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Graphic designed by Claire Hammond

Graphic designed by Claire Hammond

Graphic designed by Claire Hammond

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Congratulations! You graduated high school and are preparing to begin the journey that is college. Knowing you’re about to leave home and experience something completely new can be daunting.

While the internet is full of tips and tricks to make the collegiate experience easier, those articles are not always written from a student perspective. So as an upcoming senior, here are five things I wish someone had told me before beginning college.

Rent (don’t buy) your textbooks

Unless you are certain you’ll use them again, don’t waste money buying textbooks. Renting is a great option as it’s usually cheaper than buying, but you can still highlight and markup the text. Sometimes it is actually cheaper to just buy, but don’t end up stuck with some obscure ancient history book you only used once.

Be prepared to rethink your time management skills

In high school, you probably juggled classwork from multiple periods each day on top of sports, clubs and other activities. While college classes don’t meet daily, professors make up for that by assigning more outside work.

College is also the first time you’re allowed to freely control your time, which can lead to poor time management decisions.

That being said, learning to manage classwork, clubs, sports and other organizations is not impossible! Use a planner, set electronic reminders, schedule routine study sessions and have friends hold you accountable – do whatever is necessary to conquer your busy schedule.

Keep an open mind

During your college years, you’ll be exposed to concepts, people and beliefs of all types. While you’re probably coming to Mercer with a set major and ideas of what to participate in, be open to all options.

Don’t let rumored stereotypes about people, organizations or classes sway you. The college experience is all about what you make of it, and the possibilities will be endless if you’re open to them!

Find a mentor

There will be times that you feel lost while in school. You might be struggling academically, unsure if you picked the right major or dealing with other issues. This is where having a faculty or staff member to talk to will be lifesaving! They have years of experience guiding college students to succeed and will help you choose the best paths to take. Mercer’s faculty and staff are there to help you, so take advantage of them.

Remember that everybody around you is in the same boat

Sometimes it’s easy to feel alone when surrounded by unfamiliar faces. The beginning of college can seem terrifying, but just take a deep breath and keep in mind that everyone around is just like you!

They picked Mercer just like you did, and are either new as well, or can offer you advice on navigating the ins and outs of campus. Either way, they are more similar to you than you think, which makes college seem less scary.

College is going to be one of the most interesting and transforming times of your life. While some lessons (like not staying up too late) are learned the hard way, hopefully these tips will help improve your time here, even just a little.

I hope that the next four years are what you want them to be, but what you need them to be as well. The class periods may drag on, but the years will fly by – enjoy them while you can!

 

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Five things I wish I knew before starting college