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First time going to college

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Posted  Edited by Beaker

Hello, I will be going to college soon for the first time. So I am wondering if any of you had any advice for going.

What are your tips / advice for college?


Edited by Beaker

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Oh gosh too much advice depending on the person's situation too.


Did you choose a major yet?  If not, then I would like to say it's okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life 🙂 explore a little bit and have fun, and then narrow in on your interests because you'll want to be really passionate about it if you're going to finish.  There will be a lot of trying days and, for me, the only thing that got me through was actual sincere passion.  I had to take a lot of classes I didn't really want to take, and I've even failed classes before and it felt like it was all over.  I kept going because I eventually knew what I wanted to do, and so I made it happen.


If I wanted to be really strategic about it...  A lot of professors, councilors, and mentors will you tell you that the most important thing you can do is learn the material.  I think this is garbage.  In theory: It's true, but this is not what is really practiced and it's not practical.  There are very few ways for employers to determine how well you understand the material even with very challenging interviews because they are trying to squeeze years of knowledge out of you in a matter of hours.  It's just not going to happen.  Basically when you go to an interview just don't be an idiot and you'll probably get hired.  Plus: Only 1-2 classes might be relevant for the job they are hiring you for, and so they don't even really care if the other classes were easy or not; you'll probably be applying for the jobs relevant to the classes you did well with anyways.  In the end: Credentials more often pay off, and your credentials are your grades.  I personally found that grades were more valuable than my work experience, and I've worked at some pretty incredible places and have achievements that are hard to compete against, but my less competitive grades created ginormous barriers for me.  I would probably go back and just take the least amount of classes, the easiest ones if I can, and definitely research the professor and make sure they are pretty easy too.  You can self-study if you want to be a superstar on the more challenging material where it does not affect your performance/grades on paper.  I took a lot of very hard classes that were not required, and they often hurt my grades and were not asked about during interviews.


If you can transfer or are still choosing your university or college, then I would keep in mind the above.  The rank of your university doesn't matter very much unless it's the super top notch most reputable ones like Stanford and MIT (I'll arbitrarily say top 10 ish).  Even then: Students who are accepted into those universities probably would have done well no matter where they went because they are often already superstars without the help of a name brand university.  After the top 10 it's kind of all blurred and nobody cares anymore.  If you're choosing between a university that is like ranked 20th nationally versus another that is ranked 138th...  it makes very little difference to the employers, and especially if it's just your bachelors degree or less.


Participate in extracurricular activity.  Work on projects.  Try to get an internship.  Join the clubs, societies, and go to workshops and seminars.  If there are things like study abroad or anything like that I would recommend trying if it's still at all possible during COVID.


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Major advice would be to prepare you GI system for lots and lots of ramen because it's the main food you will be eating.

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I'm gonna sound like one of those "no fun allowed" types with this, but it's what's been working for me and many others.


Don't worry about partying or anything like that. It's not important. You're there to learn, to get your degree, and to prepare yourself for your future. Partying isn't gonna help you do that. As dumb as it sounds, employers can/do look at online posts about you to see what kind of person you are outside of work. 


Don't be afraid to drop any classes that you don't feel comfortable in/don't think you can pass. It seems like a scary thought, especially if you have something like the Zell Miller/Hope grant that Georgia has. But to me, it's far better to do that than to have to re-take the class again in a different semester because you stayed even though you knew you couldn't pass it.


Keep in touch with your advisor and have a close relationship with them. There may be the occasional bad one, but the majority of them are good people and are trying to help you do what's best for yourself. If you ever feel like your advisor is not trying to do that, you can either go to the head of a specific department to ask them directly about what the advisor was saying, or you can go to a different advisor. Essentially the same thing goes for professors. However, always check RateMyProfessor before you sign up for a class. You may find out that that a certain professor is not going to be the right fit for you, or that they're not as good as they seem to be.


Whenever you're emailing your professors, always set the subject as the name of the class, the class number, and the time. Follow that with a brief explanation of the purpose of the email

Example: KINS4450 12:30-1:45: Exercises for post-surgery ACL rehab

It helps you get an email back much faster than if you had just put the question as the subject. At the end of the email, put your name and whatever ID number the college gave you, even if you already leave it off with a "Thank you, Name"

Example: Roger Gunshot



Like Joshy said earlier, join clubs if you can, get internships, do research work with your professors if they offer it. It may be a lot of work at the time, but in the end it gets you so many useful connections that you can use later once you graduate, and are often great sources of knowledge.


Final thing I can think of right now is to save as much money as possible. You don't need to go buying a bunch of things or splurging on food. Use your university's dining hall, especially if they require you to buy a meal plan to live on campus. It may not be the best food in the world, but you're already paying for it and it saves you from going out to eat every other day or buying a whole bunch of stuff you don't need. Always act like you have far less money than you actually do, and you'll be more hesitant in spending it and you'll ask yourself more often if it's really worth spending the money on this thing.


Signature by @Auralanity

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