When starting college for the first time many students may find the beginning of their first semester overwhelming as they are thrust into a foreign world without the proper tools for success. College is drastically different than high school, but with proper preparation this transition can be made as seamlessly as possible.
Organization and time management are two important factors for passing college courses and completing a successful academic year. Starting early on assignments and chipping away at them when a deadline is in the future is a better alternative than pulling an all-nighter the day before the project is due. Don't procrastinate or overestimate how much time you have to complete assignments.
Get to know your professors and attend office hours. Professors might seem terrifying to most students -- I was afraid to even email my professors my first year in college. Getting to know your professor can open up a world of opportunities that extend to landing a potential job through networking and letters of recommendation. These opportunities won't be available, however, if a professor can't put a face to a name, so make use of their office hours as much as possible.
A mistake that many students make is engaging too much in having an active social life instead of attending class. Going to an 8 a.m. class isn't appealing and indulging in precious sleep after a late night is very tempting. However, school should be the priority and while engaging in an active social life is fun and a good way to relieve stress, failing courses and spending thousands of dollars retaking classes isn't a good way to end a semester.
While graduating with a degree is the biggest draw for attending college, a degree alone doesn't guarantee finding a job after graduation. The biggest benefits of attending college include the experiences that campus life offers and the connections students make with their professors and peers. College should be viewed as a giant resume builder where students join university-affiliated organizations and pursue internships that pertain to their career.
A student with a 4.0 GPA with little experience in their field will always be glossed over if there is an applicant with a lower GPA, but several internships under their belt, a portfolio showcasing their completed work over their time spent at college, and the on-campus groups that they have been involved with.
Being more involved can lead to great opportunities, meeting friends and learning how to properly manage time. There is a difference between being busy and being overwhelmed when trying to juggle work, assignments and involvement with organizations, but the fear of the unknown shouldn't turn students away from experiencing new things and enjoying their time at college.