College is the time for a person to learn independence and responsibility. Not just with your studies, but with every aspect of your life. When I first became a college student, I thought it was all fun and late-night parties, until reality seeped in. College is more about being a responsible person and student. No one will constantly remind you to do your assignments or finish your reading list. Your professors won't care if you didn't study for an exam; they are just there to give some minimal guidance and compute your grades. It's not like high school anymore. If you want to survive college, you have to be proactive in taking care of your academics and your own life as well.
Here are some realizations that woke me up to the sordid realities of college life:
1. Cramming and Procrastinating Is Not Cool. I've seen a lot of students who can manage to pull-off an all-nighter and still get passing grades. I've asked a lot of classmates how they can stay awake through nights of burning the midnight oil. I've tried them all: drank cups of coffee, slept for a while before an all-nighter, and downed cans of energy drinks. While I did passed some exams after studying all night, I realized that it's taken a toll on my immune system. I noticed that I caught colds more easily after exam week.
What I learned from here is that though you can survive being up all night studying, you health will pay for it later on. So it's still best to do a little studying everyday so that come exams week, you won't have to cram.
2. Health comes first. In relation with #1, being a top student is useless if you get sick easily. So I ditched the procrastinating and cramming act and became more active in my studies, as well as having good health. There are different facilities that encourage proper health care in college, like the clinic (they have free handouts on health and body issues, aside from medicine), the guidance office (if you want some talking to), and the canteen (if you want to know more about healthy eating).
Another thing I learned is to go beyond instant ramen and cook my own food. Dorm life improved my culinary skills and I'm proud to say that I can cook a little now.
3. Socialize wisely. In college, it's so tempting to just be friends with everybody. Though I've met some of the best people who sincerely became my friends, not all people you will meet will like you. Stay away from rowdy peeps, and learn to mingle without having to be "plastic" and b*tchy. As always, remember the Golden Rule: "Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do to you."
4. Ask help if you have to. You don't have to go through college alone. There are plenty of people and places you can turn to when it comes to help in academics, concerns, and finding a library book (I'm now best friends with the librarian!).
5. Balance. Strike a balance when it comes to studying and yourself. Find time for relaxation and enjoyment.
These five insights about college life surely helped me get through and survive.