Visiting your professor during office hours can be helpful, even if you’re not struggling in the class.
College can be complicated. Between killer exams, roommates who hit snooze eight times at 4:30 in the morning before sports practice and finding a good group of friends, it can seem like there’s a lot to worry about and adjust to.
However, colleges know that the transition from high school can be difficult, and they have a lot of resources to make it easier. And the weird part? Many of these resources aren’t even used by most undergrads. Whether it is because they don’t know they exist, or they’re too afraid to take advantage, many students are missing out on some serious assistance.
But not you. Nope, you’re going to get out there, grab the bull by the horns and milk that college resource cow for all that he’s got. Starting with…
That person down the hall
Having roommate trouble? Not sure which classes might be interesting? Want to throw a party for your floor, or eat some of the best food in town? Go talk to your resident assistant! Practically every school calls them something different (resident adviser/resident mentor/community adviser/peer counselor), but they’re upperclassmen living maybe just a few doors away from you. They’re trained to help with all kinds of problems and often get school funding to host fun events. And if you have a problem that they don’t know how to solve, they’ll know exactly who to talk to so it gets fixed.
Most professors aren’t evil
Professors can seem scary, imposing and even boring. They might be all three at times, especially if you’re taking an 8 a.m. class. However, they’re professors partly because they love teaching about their life’s work. If you’re struggling in class, loving the class, have free time or if you want a professor to know you in case you need a recommendation letter down the road (hint hint), go visit them at their office hours. Right before and after exams, office hours will probably be busy, but there likely won’t be anyone there at other times — the professor will likely enjoy seeing you and could even remember you. Stopping by, for even 10 minutes, can help you ace exams, score higher on papers and even give you a leg up for future research projects or internships.
The perfect spot
College exams are a lot harder than most high school exams, and two or three tests might make up your whole grade for one class. Finding the perfect study spot is key. Maybe everyone studies on the first floor of the main library, but that means you know lots of people there, and getting distracted is much easier than focusing. Look for other, less-frequented spots. Maybe that’s a quiet coffee shop off campus, or the law or sciences library, or even a building open late with empty classrooms. Finding a place to settle down, spread out and focus is crucial to college, so look for graduate libraries or calm cafes, and the place for you.
Move your body
Everybody knows gyms exist, along with all kinds of athletics programs, from varsity and intramural sports to tennis, yoga and Pilates classes on the weekends, but many people don’t bother. Finding the motivation can be difficult, but it is more important than ever in college to be active; it can be a huge stress relief and will help you be more focused in everything else you do. A half-hour jog with a friend can knock off two hours of work later. Plus, joining a sports team or exercise class is an almost instant way to make great friends.
College can be very difficult, and the transition from high school is one of the most complicated parts, but don’t let it be too hard. Keep your eyes open, and go talk to all those people who are available to you, from the sophomore or junior down the hall to the biology librarian who might know the perfect books for your term paper. And scout out the best place for you, whether that’s in a lounge chair in the “Absolutely No Talking” room in the library, or playing intramural badminton. If you keep some of these things in mind, college will be much easier and much more fun.
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