Have you ever heard the saying “start as you mean to go on”? It’s about the importance of getting started on the right foot, and managing to do this as a college student can set you up for success. It means you don’t have to unlearn bad habits because you’ve put good ones into action right away. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and if you do begin in a less than stellar fashion, you can still succeed. However, the tips below will help you set good practices in place that you can continue.
Manage Your Budget
Whether you have savings, a scholarship, student loans or money from other sources, it’s important that you live within your means and have enough to cover both tuition and living expenses. A budget can help you ensure that this is possible. Figure out how much you have for the semester and that will tell you how much you can spend each month on housing, food, and other items. You might also want to consider getting your first credit card. This can be helpful for emergencies or when you’re waiting on more money to come in. You can review a student guide that offers more information on the best cards for students.
Go to Class
It would be nice to think this might be an obvious directive, but the number of students who end up dropping out or failing out of their freshman year because of not attending classes says otherwise. Students generally quit going to class for one of two reasons: either they have too much going on with their social life, extracurricular activities, and work, or they are overwhelmed. In the former case, you need to learn better time management and prioritize your classes. In the latter case, you may need to see what campus resources are available to help you cope.
Speak up in class. Find out your professors’ office hours and go see them during that time. Make appointments with your academic advisor. Take the initiative to join organizations related to your interests and your career choice. Start conversations with other students. This is a great time to expand your worldview, make new connections and learn, and you should take advantage of as many opportunities that come your way as you can. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
It’s great if you have a close family, and you should continue to cultivate that closeness, but if your parents have mostly been involved in helping you solve your problems, it’s time to strive for more independence and work on making decisions and taking action yourself. This is also true if you’ve been particularly dependent on a best friend or anyone else. College is a time to find yourself, test yourself, and learn more about what you’re capable of, but you’ll never get the opportunity to do any of those things if you fall back into the same patterns you’ve had all your life.