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    7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

    7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

    As a senior in college, I’ve learned a lot in the past four years. There have been trials, milestones, new friends, adventures, and exciting opportunities. But there are a lot of things that I didn’t know before I started college four years ago. Therefore, here are just a few things I wish I knew before starting college, that I hope can help you as you begin this exciting new journey.

    It’s OK to Change Your Major

    My freshman year, I thought I knew exactly what my degree was going to be, and that it would never change. Since then, I’ve altered my major several times. Mostly every college student has changed their major at least once or added/removed a minor. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to change your mind. We make these decisions as early as 17 years old, and we become drastically different by the time we’re 22. That’s why universities have gen-ed courses, so if you’re not entirely sure about your major, you can browse around. This is a time of exploration. What you’re locked into at 18, you don’t have to be at 22.

    Keep up with your Electives and Courses in General

    In your major, you are normally focused on the courses required for that degree, however there are also a certain number of electives you must have. It’s good to spread these out along your curriculum to maintain a solid path to your desired graduation date.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Try Things By Yourself

    Take a yoga class. Go to a club meeting. Find a local cafe. When most of us go to college, we start out not knowing anyone, and sometimes it’s good to go outside of your comfort zone, try new things, and meet new people. You never know when a good friend is around the corner.

    Study. Study. Study

    While it may seem obvious, one of the biggest reasons you’re at college is to learn and to study. The first test is always your opportunity to see the professors’ testing style. After that, you can figure out how to best utilize your studying time. Here are a few study tips that helped me:

    1. Make study guides (even if the professor doesn’t provide one, you can always reach out to see what will be on the test, and comprise a study guide based on that).
    2. Isolate yourself: It’s no secret that when you’re with friends, or in your dorm, sometimes its hard to get things done. Booking study rooms helped me significantly when trying to get quiet time for studying.
    3. The Pomodoro Technique: I use the method of 40 minutes of studying, and taking a break for 20. This way, your brain can take a break, but for not too long where you fall out of your study pattern. You can find Pomodoro studying videos on YouTube, accompanied by soft music.

    Utilize Office Hours

    While small, office hours can make a huge impact on your understanding of the course material. Taking the time to meet with your professor outside of class and focus on one specific concept that you may be struggling with, can help elevate your chances of success.

    Use Community Colleges for Summer Classes

    If you are looking to get some extra credits during the summer break, I recommend trying to find your local community college. Oftentimes, community college classes can be a little less expensive than four-year universities. Most universities have a transient application that allows you to take classes at a different college in between your time at your current one. Just make sure that your current university will accept the credits of the community courses as well.

    Don’t compare yourself to other people’s college journey!

    College is a challenge. It’s a period of your life where everything is changing, as are you, and you’re discovering things you like and don’t like. It can often be easy to see other people’s journey, and feel as though you’re not doing the experience right. But the truth is: there is no right way to do college. You have to find what works best for you. Your college experience is yours and yours alone. The biggest advice I could give is to try new things, pop in on a club meeting, experience game days, interact with people in your classes, and enjoy the ride — because while it may feel long, it flies by in the blink of an eye.