In previous posts, I have mentioned that it’s a good idea to use a planner, make groupchats for each class, and ask for help. I still strongly advise that you do all of those things, but since writing those posts, I have a few more things to add to that list. (Read my previous posts about college: College Advice from a Senior, 8 Tips for College Freshmen, Is College Really Like They Say it Is, How to Keep Your Faith While in College).
Continue to check in with your advisor
I have mentioned this first tip in almost every school post I write about because it’s that important. Checking in with your advisor can separate you from graduating college in 4 years, instead of 6. Schedule appointments with your various program advisors at least once a semester to prepare for the upcoming semester. And before your course enrollment period starts, send a follow up email to your advisor and confirm that the courses you plan to take still make sense for your degree requirements.
I personally had a little mishap that could have extended my graduation date by two semesters instead of one. There were four courses that I needed in order to graduate this December. I was already enrolled in them and ready to go…but then I received an email, and it turned out one of the courses I enrolled for did NOT actually count toward my degree sheet as I had hoped. After hearing that, I rushed back to the course catalog and tried to find a course to replace it with, but since it was the middle of summer, most of the courses I needed were all filled up. I panicked. I was already graduating one semester later than expected, and really did not like the idea of having to graduate a whole year later…especially just to take one class. I emailed my advisor immediately, and she was able to help me work something out. So communicate with your advisors!
Apply for internships
Participating in an internship can be one of the best things for your future career. Most of the time, internships take place in the summer; they can be paid or not; full-time, or part-time. Whatever the case, these opportunities can help you network with people in your field, get relevant experience, and also help you know what you do and don’t want to do in the future. If you’re lucky, it will even be an opportunity to live somewhere new for two to three months. The goal is to do so well that the company you interned for offers you a job either at the end of the internship, or once you graduate.
Apply for scholarships (again)
You may have applied for scholarships when you were first going into college, but you can still apply for some while you are in college. There are scholarships specifically for undergraduate and graduate students. You can be awarded these scholarships because of the courses you’re taking, a group you belong to, some research you’re doing, or just a simple raffle. If you are having trouble finding scholarships, you can ask your advisor, professor, or even fellow classmates if they know of any scholarships that you may qualify for.
Track your accomplishments
I’m the type of person who loves to have moments of self-reflection, and I think that setting aside time for this is especially important in college. Being a student is hard, and it can feel easy to focus on all the negatives this time of our lives brings. We ruminate on failed tests, missed quizzes, having loads of homework, and worrying about what our future will look like. Before you let yourself go down that spiral of overthinking, remember all of the good things that have happened. It may be helpful to make a list of your academic accomplishments, like that time you got 100% on that test; when you were able to help a peer understand a topic in class; research or an internship you participated in; or even how you successfully juggled school, work, and a social life. Be proud of yourself for all that you have been able to accomplish. Celebrate every single win!
Enjoy your time
In college, some people may find themselves going through the motions and just trying to zip right through to graduation. But as cliche as it sounds, these four years truly will go by in the blink of an eye (even if it doesn’t feel like it at times). You only have these four years to be considered a “college kid” and experience this much freedom with (hopefully) few responsibilities. Because once you walk across that stage, life is going to hit you very quickly. Let yourself be in the moment and truly take in all that college has to offer.
I hope you have a great school year,