Hi, Hello, Hey it’s Dre here and you know what else is? Classes *thunder rolls in the distance*. Yes, it’s that time of year again and for some it’s not our first rodeo. However, for many of you it’s your first year in college. It’s exciting, it’s scary, but for the most part it’s new. Don’t worry though, we here at Geeks of Color want to give you guys some tips to help you succeed in college!
Join A Club/Organization
Usually between move-in week and the first week of classes, your university’s clubs and organizations will be out there looking for new students to recruit. Be sure to browse around and see if you find anything that fits your interests, especially if it aligns with your major/career path. Some colleges may have what’s called, communities, that put you in certain classes with the same group of students to make the transition from high school easier. It’s fun and it really helps with feeling less alone, as college can sometimes make you feel.
Make Friends Inside And Out Of Classes
Making friends is hard, I know, but it does make your first year a lot less stressful and a lot more fun if you take time to socialize. With friends in your classes, you can make study groups, and help each other understand the material. With friends outside of class, you can escape from the books and unwind. Even if you don’t want to be “friends”, networking is always a good idea. Someone always knows someone you need to know. Fair warning, all the friends you make your first year of college may not be there your last year. That’s ok. People come and go. You’ll find your group and years from now, you’ll meet again like The Best Man. Hopefully with less drama.
Try To Go To Class
Summer probably messed up your sleep schedule. #Same. You’re probably looking at that 9am class on your schedule on the verge of tears. Whatever you got to do to make it to that class, do it. Most professors take attendance, and you get very few absences, if any. If you’re an early bird, good for you, but if you’re a night owl or just someone who can’t get up no matter how much sleep you get, like myself, then you have to work a little harder to get to class on time. Plan out your day in advance, prepare your book bag, your clothes, even your breakfast if you can. Try to go to bed on time, give yourself at least eight hours of sleep. If getting to sleep is a serious issue for you, see if you can get sleeping medicine (ones with Melatonin but without Diphenhydramine which can cause some drowsiness when you wake up).
Start Looking For Internships
Regardless of your chosen major, or lack there of (which is ok), it is always a good idea to look for internships, especially ones that relate to your career path. All internships are different. Some are paid, others are not. Some can be a fun experience, others can a be lot of hard work. However, they are all experience, experience that future employers look for when hiring college graduates. Internships will make a difference when a company asks for 5+ years of experience at an entry level position. Plus, if the place you do your internship likes your work, then there’s the chance that they’ll ask you to come back in a paid position.
Try To Study Abroad
Studying outside of your home country is an experience like no other. You get to experience life different from the one you grew up in, be immersed in cultures unlike your own. The downside, as with most things, is finding the funds to explore our beautiful world. Luckily, there are scholarships out there that will help you afford your trip. Try to do some research at least a year before you plan to go, this gives you enough time to accumulate the money, arrange your classes, and to make sure your travelling documents (passports, visas, etc.) are all good to go.
Stay In Contact With Your Advisors
Advisors are there to help you, from choosing classes to finding potential internships or study abroad locations. Your advisor should know exactly what you want to do after college so that you can get the most out of your time and money. They may even be able to get you to graduation a semester or two early. Also they make great references for future employers.
Always Read The Syllabus
Please, just read the syllabus. Almost everything you ever need to know about your classes is in the syllabus. Doing this saves your time and your professor’s time. If you need information that you can’t find on their syllabus, then by all means send them an email or meet with them during office hours. Be sure to print out the syllabus before the first week of classes if it’s available to you beforehand. By reading the syllabus, you can tell how the class will operate and hopefully get a sense of what kind of person your professor is, allowing you time to rearrange your schedule if need be.
Learn To Adult
Unfortunately, most high schools do not prepare you for the real world. Unless this is a fever dream and the real world is full exams on information I’ll never use. The main things you should learn how to do for yourself are: cooking, cleaning, doing your taxes, budgeting, voting, and a lot other things that even I still need to work on. For cooking, go on youtube and try to make simple meals like pasta, chicken, rice, or fish. Ask your parents to send you the recipes of your favorite meals from home. Learn to wash clothes, lights, darks, whites, which detergent/dryer sheets work best for you. FYI jeans can be worn more than once before a wash. You should definitely ask your parents how to do your own taxes, cause I still don’t… sorry. For budgeting, I try to live by at least one rule: if I can’t afford to buy something twice, then I shouldn’t buy it. When it comes to voting, please please please be informed! Know who you’re voting for, know their policies, know their views and beliefs, if they don’t align with yours then don’t vote for them, but whatever you do GO VOTE! Your vote matters! College students do not have to vote at home, you are allowed to vote in the district your school is in. HBCUs be careful, because your campus might get divided into separate districts in an attempt to discourage voting.
Above All Else, Take Care Of Yourself
Your mental health should be your top priority. Too many students either drop out or worse because of the stress of getting through college. It’s ok if you don’t have everything figured out, it’s ok if you need to cry it out, it’s ok if you go to that concert, it’s ok to have fun every once and awhile. Some classes will be hard, but there’s always someone you can ask for help, whether that be your professor, a tutor, or a fellow classmate. If you’re school has a health center with counselors, set up an appointment when things feel like they’re too much to handle. Better yet, go before it gets that bad. Netflix and chill, in any sense of that phrase that makes you feel better. There are always events going on around campus, see if there’s something you’re interested in. Just make sure when it’s time for you to walk across that stage, you are happy and proud of yourself because you deserve it!