Being in college is a whole lot different from being in high school. In high school, you’re with your family, used to being told more or less what to do. In college, it’s all on you. No one tells you when to do anything. While not quite like being out in the cold, cruel world, you do have a lot more responsibility for your life. It’s time to develop some life coping skills…and some are more important than others. This list talks about some of the most important.
#1 – Learn to manage your time
This one is number one. You’re now an adult. It’s time to take charge of your life. You know what your class schedule is, and there’s a reason your professors give you a syllabus at the beginning of the course. Set up a calendar showing when assignments are due, and when you have to start the big assignments. Then stick with it.
#2 – Learn to manage your money
College is expensive. It’s bad enough that kids get out of school with thousands of dollars in college loans — don’t add to that by charging up credit cards. In spite of what it feels like, you really do have to pay that money back. Seriously. Don’t go there. Make a budget and stick to it.
#3 – Learn to manage your priorities
There are tons of things to do in college—activities, sports, causes, social events. And almost none of that has anything to do with getting your degree (usually). Unless you’re on a varsity team, set your priorities for what you want to get out of your education. If you’re training for a profession, let that take priority over parties. That doesn’t mean you can’t socialize…but keep it in perspective or those college loans will be debt you acquired for no good reason.
#4 – Learn to manage your friends
Most colleges are pretty big places. You’ll be meeting people from many places and cultures. That’s in fact one of the best, most fun parts of college. But some of the people will be “toxic” to you—asking you to ignore your studies or pulling you away from what you know you should do. Manage those friends by limiting your exposure to them…and spending more time with people who share your commitment to….whatever you’re committed to.
#5 – Learn to manage your freedom
No one will stand over you with a stick if you don’t do what you’re supposed to. That’s one of the big places where new college students often fail. It’s up to you to provide your own discipline to meet your obligations. If you don’t…well…just don’t go there.
#6 – Learn to manage your classes
When you’re scheduling your courses for a term, take a look at your overall set of classes. If you know that Organic Chemistry class is going to be a bear, don’t sign up for three others that are also going to be hard for you. That’s asking for trouble. Instead, try to choose wisely. And, if at all possible, have one class that’s just for fun. It’ll be your “sanity break” in a tough schedule.
#7 – Did I mention: Learn to manage your time
This is both the first and last coping skill. Manage your time wisely and you’ll do fine. Screw it up, and you’ll be in trouble. So…manage your time wisely.