School Survival Skills for New College Students

Campus Tips and Tricks

College is a whole new world. And along with this new world comes increased demands. Students must be able and willing to adapt, and that’s the key to survival.

To ensure you are a campus survivor you need to acquire a new set of skills. You also probably have many skills that will serve you well, but they simply need to be tweaked and adjusted to fit your new unique needs as a college student.

First, you should understand that surviving college involves more than just making the grade. But there’s good news for you: we’ve got tips on how to survive your classes, your dorm life, and the stress involved in being away from home.

surviving college

Develop a Sensible Schedule

As a college freshman, it can be tempting to schedule all of your classes back to back, one right after the other, in order to get them done as early as possible each day. You might be thinking that this will allow you more time for studying and more time to relax. But this strategy can actually wear you out very quickly!

Class time is all-important for catching details on assignment, following the professor’s lectures, and contributing actively to the class -- professors notice which students are involved and which are not, and it will affect your grade. Consequently, having all of your classes in a row can be a recipe for stress.

Try to make college tolerable by working to develop a class schedule that fits into your day, allowing you a few refreshing breaks in the middle of your routine so as not to wear you down. Be sensible, even though you might be eager and confident as you enter your college classes.

Commit to a Routine

Another campus survival tip is to develop a routine. This goes beyond class schedule.

A well-planned routine will help shape how you utilize the time you have outside of class. Keep in mind that classes involve much more than lecture time: new students are advised to spend two hours studying for every hour of in-class time.

Also, incorporate brief chunks of planned time into your routine that allow for you tp get your errands and laundry done, and be committed to a fairly regular bedtime. Remember that sleep is much more important for concentration and well-being than people realize, and a healthy, clear mind will be your greatest asset in navigating the challenges of college.

You don’t have to be militant about your routine, but campus survival is more assured when you develop well-balanced habits and goals as part of a larger educational and growth experience.

Take Initiative

When you land on campus, it’s time to grow up. College is distinctly different from high school, and vital information won’t necessarily come to you. You’ll have to go find it. This includes deadlines as well as assignment details, not to mention all of the on-campus activities, clubs, interest groups, career fairs, and other events that you’ll never find out about if you don’t go looking.

On campus you’re expected and encouraged to take the initiative to find things out. Ask questions when you don’t know the answers.

Remember, knowledge is power. Take the initiative whenever possible to learn something you didn’t know before and take control of your personal and educational goals.

college students

Socialize and Network

Branch out, make new friends, and network with classmates. Many people don’t grasp onto college as a potential opportunity for social flowering and change, but it’s a critical element of the college experience.

If you’re going to a campus that none of your friends from high school be attending, it may seem uncomfortable at first. But you’re actually in luck because you’ll be forced to make new acquaintances and embrace the opportunity that is in front of you. College is a time for shedding old your old persona and discovering a new, more fitting, and more comfortable one. It’s a time for exploring new social groups, new values, and new ways of building and discovering relationships.

Campus socialization is critical. You don’t need hundreds of friends, but solid acquaintances, study buddies and peers with like interests are all an essential aspect of a well-balanced campus diet.

At the same time, involve yourself in athletics, clubs, and volunteer groups where you’re likeliest to find students with similar interests and goals. It can be so easy to just buddy up with the first people you’re comfortable with, or spend a lot of time with your roommates, but that sometimes involves giving up other opportunities, social events, and organizations that require more time and effort, but are also much more fruitful in the long run.

Take Time For You

When you’re making a schedule for yourself, be sure to always fit in some time to just relax, whether it’s catching up on your favorite TV show, kicking back somewhere quiet with a book, dinner out with friends, a weekend visit with your family or a shopping trip.

**The key to surviving college and campus life: balance.