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After High School

by Stephanie Jeannot

When I first graduated from high school, I was thrilled at the idea that I had a chance in life to become something. I made preparations because I knew that college was something that I had really wanted and dreamed of for my entire life.

My school was out of town so I was staying on campus. I was a little scared because I had never been on my own before and I didn't think I would do well in such a competitive place. As I met more and more people, I felt as if I had entered a party place. Everyone partied at all times of the day and night and there was very little studying that had gone on. From the experience of not doing very well from being popular, here are a few tips that I have to offer to help you through your first year without falling behind like I did:

#1 - Remember what your priorities are. You are paying that $20,000 a year to learn something.

#2 - The less popular you are, the more studying you will get done. It is good to have friends but when it comes to college, make your friends people who are in the same classes as you who can help you to study or people who are not going to always want to party because it will not help you to study as hard as you can.

#3 - Get some sleep! Don't stay up all night every night going to parties. Things are a little bit different now that you are not at home. You have to be able to get up on your own and get to class on time and ready for whatever the teacher is prepared to throw at you. Sleep could be the difference between getting an 3.85 grade point average and an 1.9 grade point average.

#4 - Make Use of the Library. The library is there for you to study, find resources, use the computers and anything that can help you to ace a term paper or test that you are preparing yourself for.

#5 - Choose a major and classes that are to your interest and that will keep you awake in class! If you are someone who is very fond of Shakespeare plays or Oedipus, major in English or Performing Arts. That way you will have knowledge of what to expect. If you know you don't like physics and you decide to take it as a major or course, it will be something that you will very much dislike and very likely fall behind in. Believe me it happens. I once took a calculus course and I fell asleep in that class every single day and sometimes I didn't even show up for the class. As a result, I didn't have the proper notes or knew no one in my classes to get the notes from to do well on my tests.

#6 - College is not a Fashion Show. Dress Comfortably. The more comfortable you dress, you won't mind being on campus a little longer to take a walk to the computer lab or library. Many people tend to think that there is a camera on them when they get to college which makes them have to have the most expensive or popular clothes on to get good grades. My advice. Where sweat pants or jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers.

#7 - If you don't understand what is being taught, make sure you make an appointment to discuss that topic with the teacher. With this in mind, it will help you to upgrade your knowledge on the topic and get a better understanding.

#8 - Cheating is not the responsible way of passing an exam. If you get caught, you could get kicked out of school. Study, study, study. I liked studying in my room and used to play classical music and/or instrumental jazz music to enhance my ability to take in information. Believe me, the idea of playing classical music for infants to grow and mature more rapidly might really apply to everyone. It works!

#9 - Make sure you talk to your counselors on a regular basis so that they could have a sense on how you are doing in your major and courses.

#10 - Keep a schedule of your classes posted somewhere in your room and in your notebooks so you can plan each day accordingly

#11 - Allow yourself enough time to study for your tests. If you are told 2 weeks in advance about an upcoming test, start studying from then because by the time the test arrives, you will probably know everything you need to know to get an A.

#12 - Don't leave everything for the last minute. It is hard to write a good paper in 20 minutes. It is also hard to study for a test the night before because there a clearly some things that you will forget to study.

#13 - Carry a pen and paper with you to take notes. Don't just sit there and expect the teacher to give you a pen and paper. Also participate in discussion. More than half your grade is usually based on class participation.

#14 - These are your college years so have a little fun. Attend functions on campus and join different college clubs provided for you by student activities.

#15 - Don't go to college with the only accomplishments having been meeting people of the opposite sex. Ladies, at this age, guys are mostly only after trying to get that ass. And I read in a book by Ben L.King that "how you doing" undercover gay men, run in large numbers in college. Just because they got big muscles (all around) does not mean they don't be bending over for men and who wants to deal with the consequences (HIV, AIDS, STDs).

Guys, don't let freshmen year be the first year to becoming somebody's baby daddy. Yes, the girls are beautiful but imagine what kind of girls a working educated man can get. Save that sex hunger for the future and stick to the books.

And last but not least,

#16 - Just because you are at the independently mature age of adulthood doesn't mean that you should feel free to apply for every credit card that comes your way. Believe me, you do not want to ruin your credit so young. Ruining your credit could effect your ability to buy a home in the future or to buy a car. If you feel like you have to, go for a major one like MasterCard so you can build up your credit. Store cards only make your credit worst. Especially when you don't pay the bills when they come. A credit card does not equal free money. Use the cards to your advantage by using them only to buy your books for the semesters that you attend school. You should have no problem paying that bill off quickly. The quicker the better.

If you apply all these things to your persona as you begin your college career, you will do great in college.

(first published Apr 17 '00 under the title, "To College or To Party" on Epinions)

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