It’s almost that time of year, for many the dreaded “back to school” time has already come. I am in my third year of College and can’t wait to go back! I love school, but first year was a difficult transition and it took a lot of change to really love what I was doing. I feel that high school doesn’t fully prepare you for post-secondary. In my first year I learned a lot, I had to quickly adjust how I handled stress and stayed organized during the year. I want to share my tips and advice with new students so that everyone has some expectations for what they are walking into! I will also share how you can have a better school year or at least try to make post-secondary a good experience.
These are the main things that I changed or focused on in my first year, I believe that prioritizing certain aspects and ignoring others really helped me grow into a more effective student.
Planning, Schedules, and Prioritizing
In High school, I was awful for procrastinating and studying last minute. I did not put a lot of effort into some classes and that was the worst habit that followed me into College. I VERY quickly snapped out of that and realized this is hard core stuff! College and University is not forgiving and you need to stay on top of your schedule. I highly recommend getting a planner with lots of writing room and actually using it! I feel like I have mentioned this in other blogs but scheduling every assignment, workout, social event and test will help you an INSANE AMOUNT! Putting everything in the planner gives you a daily schedule to visually see what you have to do, never rely on memory because it is very easy to forget an assignment when you have 5 due at the same time! You can highlight assignments that need to be prioritized or important things that need to be remembered. I love to colour code my planner with things that need to be done right away. This will help your brain think and work in high stress situations.
Make time for you
We have all heard the saying “Freshman 15”, but the reason why this happens is because post-secondary doesn’t have mandatory gym class and McDonalds is a quick lunch when you are rushing to class. Do not get stuck on fast food and being lazy, it is the easiest trap! I always schedule time to go to the gym or attend a Hot Yoga class, working out helps me in soooo many ways. I tell everyone to try working out when things get stressful, having an outlet to help you destress is good for your body and mind. It is very easy to stop thinking of yourself during school, but that’s when things turn negative. Take care of your whole body!
Ignore the drama
There will be pointless drama where ever you go and that is something no one can control. It is important to learn how to ignore negativity and focus on you. Drama makes school a very uneasy experience when everyone is just trying to get their degree and get out. My best advice is to be nice to everyone (even if they are not nice to you), ignore the drama and stay in your lane. Make your school experience the best it can be.
Have a side hustle
This tip or point can go hand-in-hand with “make time for you.” School may be your “full-time job” but it should not be the only thing you are passionate about or focused on. Find something that you can work on and put all your love into, a part-time job clearly does not count so be creative. If you like to paint, then paint (make that $$)! If you like to write or create cool content then try a blog, youtube channel or podcast. There is a side hustle for everything, be a personal trainer for friends or make a cook book. Have something that is yours and you can fully control, if you don’t you could start hating school because it’s all you have (and you will go crazy…). Read my post about finding the perfect side hustle for you, it will help you get started!
Start Saving money ASAP
School can be expensive and it is important to save as soon as you can. I got my first job at 17 and right after my first pay check I started putting away $100 from each pay check. This helped me save for an entire year of school and not have to apply for OSAP. Try your best to stay away from loans unless you have to, focus on future you too. If you can do co-op with your program or work a little more to have savings, then hustle and do it! I am happy that I can graduate debit free when many students have $20,000 plus in debit that will follow them! Having money in the bank before you start school will help reduce stress.
Saving money isn’t about depriving yourself. It’s about deciding you love future you as much as you love today you.Chelsea Fagan
I hope you can use these tips as you enter school or even go back for another year. I also hope this did not scare you! I love College but obviously, it can be difficult and testing. Learn how to adjust quickly and find what studying habits work best for you! I am thankful that I worked on each of these tips in first year or before I started because now I love school and what I am doing. Good luck!