Close your eyes and picture where you want to end up in 10, 20, or 30 years. Whatever you picture, your choice of going to colleges, majors, and educational paths will have a huge impact on your life. Your future earning prospect and overall career satisfaction may be determined by the decision you make at 17 or 18…scary thought. It is so important to understand the world of higher education, and everything it has to offer you before you make a decision. Let’s get started with some basic information.
When you walk into the dorm room on your very first day of university or college, you should definitely make an effort to introduce yourself to your dorm mates and get to know them. These will be the folks that you spend most of your time with for the rest of the year, so you’d be wise to make friends with them right away. You never know, these could become friends for life (or even a love match – but keep your eyes on the education prize for now!)
No matter what the movies tell you, college isn’t about wild parties, it’s about getting an education that will set you on a good path going foward. With that in mind, you should set aside some study time every day. Yes, not just the night before an exam! Sure, it’s important to socialize and connect with people, but the more effort you put into your education, the more it will reward you in the end. Besides, you’ve got a long summer vacation ahead. For now, focus on excelling in class. When you have a high paying job after graduation, you’ll be happy you put in this effort.
Now that you’re away from home, you should definitely learn how to cook. For one, it’ll save a lot of money instead of going out to eat all the time. It’ll also be a lot healthier and give you a more filling meal. You’ll have more energy and more focus, which is so important when you’re a student.
When it comes time to choose your classes, don’t just choose the ones with the latest start times! We think it’s best to have a balance, with a couple hard classes and a couple easy ones each semester. Otherwise you might get overwhelmed and not do as well as you could. A balance will ensure you get the best performance each semester.
When you choose a college, you’re also choosing to become at least a temporary resident of the city or town where the college is located. For this reason, you should think about what the city is like. What does the city have to offer beyond the campus? Is there shopping? Museums? Nightlife? Good transportation? Close to home? You’ll be in this town for at least four years and many students end up living in the community later in life, so this is not to be overlooked.
So the student life is mostly about studying, but you may also be looking for a part-time job to give you a bit of spending money or help pay for expenses. Do you want to choose a job related to your future career path? Or what about a job with nice perks, like free food or discounted products? Every little bit helps when you’re a student. At the end of the day, it’s a good break from hitting the books.
When you’re in college, you should think about doing an internship or getting a co-op placement. It’ll let you get a break from studying to try some hands-on learning. Plus, you get to see what a career would be like in this field. Many students make such a good impression during their internship that they are offered a job after graduation. Talk to the relevant department at your school to explore your internship/co-op opportunities.
If you’re looking to get professional experience, how about enrolling in a work study program? Basically you get to be half student, half worker. You make some money which can be used to finance your education, you get professional experience, and you also gain professional contacts that can be invaluable down the road. Again, speak with the relevant department at your school to find out more.
Obviously, college plays such a big role in people’s lives and can really dictate how careers turn out. Even though you’re young, your decisions at this age will have ripple effects throughout your life. But follow these steps and go in with an open mind, and you’ll have a rewarding college experience.