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The Stylus guide: Surviving and thriving in college

Wed, May 3rd 2017 02:00 pm
Elizabeth Pritchard/EDITORIAL CARTOONIST
Elizabeth Pritchard/EDITORIAL CARTOONIST

Coming to college, things can be scary because you haven't done this before and everything is different from high school. 

Some people arrive at college and really believe they aren't going to make it. Sure people tell us to make our beds, get good grades, be careful at parties and stick with who you trust,  but if that's all you got in your back pocket to help you, you are in for a rude awakening. 

Here are some tips from our staff in hopes of guiding you through your collegiate experience.  

Tip: Birds of a feather flock together!

During freshman year, one of the things you will be seaching for is friendship. Some people make friends during orientation, while others do it once school starts. You can always meet people by joining a club with others who are passionate about the same things as you converse with the people who live near you or make friends with people who are in your major or classes. Those classes will connect you with like-minded people.

The truth is finding friends can be really hard at first but if you find the fortitude to do some of the things mentioned above, you'll be just fine. It is also one of the most influential decisions one can make in college that will define their college experience and prepare one for a career. Remember, "birds of a feather flock together," so find those people who you share interests with and everything else will follow.

Tip: Sleep is important!

People always hear others bragging about how many all-nighters they have pulled but it's not healthy. Getting a great night sleep improves your brain function and gives you the right energy and willpower to complete your work and prosper day to day. This means you can work smarter instead of harder. Taking a 20-minute nap daily is beneficial too. 

Tip: Don't believe the myths!

 Movies and TV shows made us think wild frat parties happen every night with huge keggs, classes take a backseat to partying and hooking up is almost mandatory to get the "true college experience." Honestly, it's all bullsh*t. You'll learn that college parties are more typically 15 people stuffed into a room listening to rap music, drinking sh*tty beer and desperately trying to stir up conversation. 

As for hooking up, it isn't all it's hyped up to be. If you're just flirty and promiscuous by nature, live it up. No one will judge if you decide to refrain from partaking in the "hookup culture" on campus.

Tip: Timing is different for everyone!

Some people will graduate college a whole year earlier than expected and some will graduate on time. It all depends on readiness and the pace you want to learn at. The idea of completing your collegiate career is exhilarating; a lot of these people have taken college courses while they were completing their high school career.

However, you should know that it's okay to graduate after the typical four year college deadline. Don't be intimidated if those around you are graduating and leaving you behind. It doesn't mean that you are doing things you shouldn't be doing. It just means that your goals take a little longer than other's. Sometimes you have to know what you are striving for. Once you do, you will get where you need to be. 

Tip: Love is a dangerous game!

Being in a long distance relationship is NOT impossible, albeit it will certainly be difficult. There may be issues of mistrust and general time management. People tend to have a negative connotation regarding long distance relationships because they assume partners will lose interest in each other if they aren't constantly together, but if it's meant to be it will always be. If it's not, don't stress; you're in college! There are plenty of fish in the sea, as cliche as that sounds. Also, don't let the relationship ruin your academic life. Being in love is a beautiful thing but we assume that's not what you came to college for. It can be very easy to get swept up in your romantic fantasies and want to spend all your time with your significant other, missing class, assignments and even work. However, always remember to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground because love won't pay back your student loans. 

Tip: Take freshman year SERIOUSLY!

Don't blow it off like an easy break. Accumulating a 1.6 grade point average at the end of your freshman year will place you on academic probation. If your grades start going down the toilet, do everything in your power to isolate what is putting pressure on you. The outcome of your freshman year will impact you for the remainder of your collegiate career and may make your life more difficult down the road. Tackle issues when they fester before you regret not taking caution.

That's why academic advisors are our best friends. They will help you get back on track by connecting you to resources like tutors. That 1.6 can turn into a 3.2. Never doubt your abilities.

Tip: Going out-of-state and out of your comfort zone!

Brockport has a three percent out-of-state student rate. Not exactly the biggest splash in the pool of demographics. If you are an out-of-state student, you should do two things. 

Number one: plan way ahead for the trip home. Brockport is a public state school and its accommodations are mostly made for those in-state so incoming, out-of-state students, prepare to be independent and make your own way. 

Number two: do your research on New York. Start with the general things that every resident should know about the area, from its most prominent politicians to businesses that are headquartered there, as well as the most well-known restaurants and the coziest hangouts in your area. A little digging might help you get comfortable outside of your comfort zone. 

Tip: More Change!

You may want to change your major once, twice, three or four times. That is perfectly okay! It's far more natural and common than you may think and it is actually a good thing. The important thing is to find what's right for you. It may be daunting especially if it means spending five years at college instead of four.

Tip: Internships, internships, internships!

Sure, you're here to learn about life, make friends and find yourself but academically, you have to also get the experience in your field. Not only do you want to avoid falling flat on your face when looking for a job, but getting an internship avoid insecurities when entering the workplace, as well as growing your connection and networking base. Internships are great not only for your confidence in your skills but it helps shape and mold those skills beyond what the classroom can give you. While some of us here at The Stylus knew how to write decent stories and the basic media ethics and standards, we gained a lot of new knowledge and skills, as well as networks, from applying, receiving and taking advantage of our internships. Internship supervisors aren't there for your excuses and you shouldn't be giving any. You want to be a different person when you leave college - yes, personality wise and skill wise as well.

Tip: No Vacancy

Sure, you're aware of the fact that you don't have to attend classes in college the same way you have to attend classes in high school. It's not exactly as black and white as it seems. While it may be true that in college the attendance policy is up to the discretion of the instructor there are other things that should be taken into consideration before you choose to skip a class. You will face the consequences because you can't teach yourself the class material. 

 In life, we will always be "freshmen," going into new situations blind and learning from new experiences. Using some of these tips will help you survive college. So use them, abuse them and enjoy yourself.