Tips for future college students

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By Lindsay Kriz

KPA Summer Intern


It's the typical pattern: students graduate from high school, and parents and relatives will immediately give them advice about how to navigate the world of college. Which is great, except some of those who give advice have been out of college for years, maybe even decades. So, as a current college student, I thought I'd write a column with some up-to-date advice based on my two-year experience.


1. A car is convenient, but may not be necessary.

I go to Western Kentucky University, which has public transportation that goes around the city, and I have a car that can get me home. But a lot of my friends don't, which can sometimes prove inconvenient to them. So, if you have a car and you can bring it with you, bring it. The fee for a parking pass is well worth the money, especially if you need to go home often or have an off-campus job your first year. As you develop more friends or money, and a car is easier to access even if you don't own one, you can probably get by. My friends get by fine without one, but they also help chip in for gas. So you should too. 


2. Some professors may not act like they care, but don't test them.

And when I say they don't care, I mean they're not responsible for you. YOU are responsible for you in college. By the time I got to college I'd heard that so many times I rolled my eyes. But it's true. There are no parents to help wake you up in the morning (unless your roommate's nice enough to do it). If you miss class, you miss class. Some professors don't care if you have three unexcused absences, but some will, and it can really affect your grade. Just hope that if you miss class, it's not on a day of a test that's worth half your grade. In college, it's possible!


3. It might not be 15 pounds, but as a freshman you certainly might gain weight.

While money may be a limit on how much you can eat, there is no one to dictate when you can eat. I mainly stayed in my room my first semester and snacked while I played online, because those were two things that felt familiar to me. But while climbing the Hill at Western might have helped with my weight gain a little, it wasn't enough. I had to learn to regulate my meals and meal times, and it's something that I'm still struggling with. So when it comes to college meals, approach them the way you should anything in college: with a sense of discipline.


4. Your grades can make you or break you.

Like I said before, your professors will tell you that they don't care whether you come to class or not, and that your grades are your concern. And they're serious. Some classes may be worth 700 points altogether, which include small assignments that get you easy points and give your grade a big boost. But some professors (probably more intermediate courses) may only have three assignments all semester, and all three of them add up to your overall grade in the class.  So when that syllabus is passed out or posted online at the beginning of the semester - and it will be - make sure you check it, and plan around it accordingly. 


5. Enjoy yourself.

 College can be stressful, trust me. Especially around finals week, when I hate everything and everyone and cry as I stare at my textbooks in despair. But in between test and paper due dates, relax, and actually go have some fun. If you have friends who attend the same university as you, hang with them. And if you don't know anyone, just be friendly or become involved in a club or community that shares yours interests. I met my current best friend just by saying hi to her during freshman orientation. So yes, do study, but please don't just sit in your room and pretend to study all day when you're really on Facebook. Really try your best to go out there and make memories. Because when you graduate from college and look back, you won't remember the fact that you got an A in organic chemistry (well, maybe you will, I've heard it's tough). You'll remember the crazy fun times you had with all your friends.