10 ways to...survive college

New things can be difficult to accept. Education in particular can be extremely scary, especially when you're moving from the environment that you've been in for 5 years, to somewhere completely new.

10 ways to...survive college

In these 10 tips, I will give you some advice on how I personally got through my first year of college. I'm not a professional or anything, I'm your typical college kid trying to get into uni.


This is probably one of the most important things to do. College is considerably different to secondary school, and if you expect things to be the same then you're in for a shock. What I have personally realised about college, is that you're treated like the young adult that you are. You are no longer a child, so you aren't forced to hand in assignments, you're just expected to do so. If you don't hand in your assignments, you'll most likely be thrown off the course. This is simply because the college want hard working students who aren't just there for the social benefits.

Create a social circle

This is also fairly important. If you're going to a college where you don't know anybody, try to get to know the people in your class. When the experience starts to become difficult and you're trying to deal with exams and assignments, having friends is really beneficial and having a group of people who make you laugh can be a huge motivator. It's not easy to approach people at first, but many of them are in the same situation as you, so try to get chatting to the people around you and think about joining extra curricular activities, to find people with similar interests.

Study, Study, Study

I will be quite blunt with this - you will not pass if you fail to study, but you probably knew that already. I'm not saying that this is easy, because it can be extremely difficult to find the motivation to study. Most of us have a social life, or even work. But, this is a pretty simple concept - study hard, and you should have a good year. Fail to study and you will struggle. A lot.

Don't Rush Into Anything

I may have scared you slightly with my first few pieces of advice. However, you still need to relax a little. The worst thing you can do is rush your assignments due to nerves. You're usually given reasonable deadlines and you have a year to get things right, but that doesn't give you can excuse to be lazy. It's not a race after all, and my best assignments have been the ones that I've taken my time on. Your tutor will recognise a rushed piece of work.

Watch your wallet

Yes, seriously. You'd be surprised how much money you can spend at college. If you're spending money on lunch each day, try doing the math on how much you're spending a year. I didn't have a job in my first year, so the money went down quickly. What I found beneficial was bringing in packed lunches and looking out for student lunch deals locally. Doing this saves a ton of cash, and leaves you the ability to have a social life outside of college, which is something that we all want right?

Get to know your teacher

The years are so much better when you have a good relationship with your teacher. I'm not telling you to become best friends with your teacher, but don't give them reasons to dislike you. Some teachers are friendlier than others, so have a chat with them if they seem approachable. At the end of the day, teachers are only human beings like you and me.

Don't be embarrassed if you have issues

Colleges are always open to help you out. Whether your issues are physical, mental, sexual or educational. Some of these issues can be slightly embarrassing to bring up, but colleges usually hire people who deal with these issues on a professional level, so you're in the right hands. The worst thing you can do is keep everything to yourself, as this just makes your college experience so much more difficult.

Avoid exam nerves

As much as you try to forget about exam season, they do come eventually. The best way to not do terribly, is to revise. This is a weak area for me. I always try to study, and always feel as if I understand what is being taught. However, I get nervous and all of the hard work gets ruined. If you're in my situation, don't panic. You're not alone, but you just have to work even harder than the average person. You need to train yourself on controlling your nerves and revise even more than usual. Sitting mock exams can help you to feel prepared, or even getting some reassurance from your tutor. Don't be afraid to reach out for some calming advise.

If you fail, don't panic

It's quite easy to panic. However, this is fairly counter productive. You will most likely beat yourself up and ruin your self esteem. If you get a chance to retake the exam, and you've already beaten yourself up then passing becomes quite difficult. The best way to avoid this is to identify where you went wrong, and fix it. It's that simple. You need to believe in yourself that you can pass, so try to have some self confidence and don't see a fail as the end of the world.

If you pass, don't sit back

If you pass, well done. However, this doesn't give you a ticket to stop working hard. Celebrate by all means, but make sure that the hard work continues. It's easy to sit back after passing a difficult year, but it isn't the end for most of us. In fact, it's only the beginning. So be proud of your pass and celebrate it, but keep working to the best of your ability.

If you follow this advice, you will have a good few years at college. The best thing to do is enjoy yourself, and work very hard. If you follow those two things, it's hard to go wrong.


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  • Emrys Green

    On 21 October 2015, 21:48 Emrys Green Voice Team commented:

    Some great advice Duane!

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