College is an exciting time, and your experience can help chart the course of your future. Everyone has different expectations and will want different things from their time at school. The key to success is to decide what you want to gain from the experience and maximize your time to meet your goals.
Look for Opportunities
Attending college is not just about education, it is also a place to gain experience. Take advantage of any internship opportunities offered by your school. If they don’t have a strong internship program, you can search for them on your own. Look online on sites that list jobs, they often list paid internship opportunities as well. Internships allow you to gain real world experience that looks good on job applications. It also gives you an idea what types of jobs are available in your field. An internship is different than working while attending school. It benefits both you and your employer, but the company knows you are a student. Schools often provide credit for internships, and they are available during the summer as well as during the school year.
Worrying about finances makes it difficult to focus on your studies. Working while attending college makes it difficult to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the school. Taking out student loans from a private lender allows you to cover the costs needed for tuition, rent, and other living expenses. By borrowing now to repay later, you can focus on your studies, join clubs and organizations that interest you, and take advantage of internships.
Be Protective of Your Free Time
College may be the first time when you have the freedom to do as you please and endless opportunities to fill your time. Maybe studying was simple in high school, and aside from the occasional trip to the mall, football game, or party, you had plenty of time. Even if you waited until the last minute, you could often spend the class periods before your assignment was due or you had a test cramming in last-minute work. In college, there will not be anyone checking in to be sure you complete your assignments and prepare for tests. To make things more challenging, it will be easier to develop a busy social life than it was in high school. No matter what your interests or personality, there will be others who you are compatible with and activities that you find interesting.
There is no reason you have to spend all your time studying. Prioritizing and planning often means you have more time to do what you want. Keep a calendar with the dates you have assignments due and tests to take and work backward to ensure you fit it all in. That way, you can see where you have free time. Once you know how much free time you have, and when you have it, you can decide how you want to spend it. Some activities will stand out as more appealing than others, and you will quickly learn how late nights affect you the next day. All of this will help you make better use of your time.