The moment you announce you got into college, everyone will start bombarding you with memories of their own student days. But even though you will receive all kinds of advice, there are certain things that people will always forget to mention.
Here are five tips you are not likely to hear, but should know.
1) Utilize your professors’ office hours
Starting your university career can feel overwhelming. Suddenly there’s so much to do – so many classes and assignments, but so little time. Rather than panicking all by yourself, keep these two magic words in mind: office hours. Every college professor sets aside a few hours each week to meet with students one-on-one. Make use of this time. Not only can your professor help you make sense of tough assignments, he or she will also get to know you as someone who is serious about academic success. Being perceived as a good student can never hurt.
2) Avoid the campus bookstore
Your university and your professors will most likely suggest you to get your books from the campus bookstore. Don’t do that, unless you are swimming in cash. The campus bookstore is generally the most expensive place to buy textbooks. Instead, you could go on your university’s Facebook page to see if fellow students are selling their used books for the classes you want, and check out online stores. Textbooks.com carries over 10 million titles and you can even just rent them instead of buying. Chegg.com is another site that rents and sells books, and you may get an e-book to use online while you wait for the physical copy to arrive.
3) Count on getting sick
During finals week your stress levels will shoot through the roof as you will have five big exams coming up and four term papers due. The stress causes your immune system to take a hit, and guess what – you will get sick at the worst possible time. If you are bedridden and miss your deadlines, this could even postpone getting your bachelor’s degree. To avoid this fate, you will need to plan ahead. Make sure to finish your assignments several days before they are due, and start studying early for exams too. This way you are less likely to be in serious trouble even if you get sick at the wrong time – which is almost a given.
4) Enjoy the parties
The never-ending parties are one of the main reasons why many people cherish their college years. Try to say yes to as many social events as you can, whether it’s a Greek organization’s toga party, a formal dance or the PR club’s fundraiser. These social functions are great for getting to know your classmates and making lifelong memories. Some students even prioritize social life over academics, saying, “You can redo an exam, but you can’t relive a party.” That may be overkill, but try to arrange your studies so that you’ll still have time for fun. For example, Thursday is often “college night”, meaning a major night out, so if you can, avoid taking early classes on Fridays.
5) Sign up for campus credit cards
Banks will often come to university campuses to promote student credit cards, and will offer perks like free beach towels or pizza to applicants. Take advantage of this opportunity to get approved for a starter credit card and ignore the notion that credit is evil. That’s not true. If you use your student credit card responsibly and pay off your balance in full every month, you will build good credit within a year. A high credit score will help you immensely later on: you can get approved for car and house loans, rental apartments, cell phone plans, and airline credit cards with high sign-on bonuses. This means you can take a spring break trip to Cancun with frequent flier miles instead of paying high season flight prices.
This article was contributed by guest author Mirva Lempiainen.