College is a time of growth and excitement for all rising freshmen. Freshmen soon realize that once their parents walk out the dorm, all curfews and rules are gone with the remnants of move-in day. When the first weekend comes, freshmen tend to find themselves overwhelmed with a new social life and experiences different from anything in high school. As much fun as partying and spending time with new friends is, college freshmen sometimes forget the real reason that they are even at college: for an education. However, you do not have to fail your classes to make great memories with friends outside of the classroom. From experience, here are tips to help you socialize and still make the grade!
Go to office hours: Whether you are in a class of 30 or 300, getting to know your professor is one of the most essential factors you can do for any course. When you go to office hours, you show not only your intent to do your best, but you also show that you actually care about your success and the material, which always sits well with professors. If you know you are struggling, go to office hours and you will not regret it.
Aim to get ahead: Even though the first two weeks of school are usually very lenient with the work load, do not just sit around watching TV and partying during this time. By the time that third week comes and essays and midterm exams are looming in your future, you will be happy you spent an extra thirty minutes each day staying ahead with reading for a class. Even better, when you are ahead in a class, you easily avoid all-nighters in your future when the work really piles on.
Try a study group: Although most people usually equate study groups with nerdy freshmen who do not even know their way around campus, study groups can really help you understand material from someone else’s perspective that can ultimately help you succeed. In fact, if you do not join a club or go greek, forming study groups with people in your classes can really help you build relationships and friendships as a freshman.
Sit in the front row: Even though it may seem nerdy and intimidating, sitting in the front row will help you stay focused during class. Even though the professor cannot see your computer screen, there is something about sitting right there next to the professor as he lectures that just makes you feel so guilty if you switch from your notes to check your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Of course, when you pay closer attention in class, your grades will improve tremendously.
DO NOT go out every night: Partying every single night of the week will probably be the most destructive thing you could do for not only you, but for your academics. Make sure you know your limits and know when you need to sit down and open up the books. Although there is usually not steady homework every night like in high school, when exams and essays are approaching, the work load will seem unbearable and you will regret choosing to party every night and blow off balancing your studies with your social life.
Ask for help if you need it: Sometimes it is hard for freshmen to realize that they are really struggling in a class and do not have the 4.0 average anymore like they did in high school. College is much more challenging, and without constant busy work and usually only 2-3 grades per class for the semester, it really is easy to fail a course. If you know you are struggling, ask for help! Try your school’s tutor zone or even ask your RA or any upperclassmen you know for tips on improving. You will be much happier you asked for help early on in the semester then when it all hits during finals and you realize there is no hope.