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How to Survive College

With graduation season approaching, the waves of wisdom coming from parents of seniors are sure to be on their way.

As much as we all enjoy hearing our parents telling us “don’t go anywhere alone!” or “study hard!” the true survival tips for college can only be heard from a true college student.

The first few weeks of college can be overwhelming.

Between living away from your parents for the first time, being in huge lecture halls with more people than you graduated with, getting lost between buildings, and living off of microwaveable meals and energy drinks — it’s easy to be overwhelmed.

For those of you who are going into this fall without any older siblings or friends in college to guide you along, or even those who just like second opinions, these words of wisdom can be used to help make your college experience more enjoyable.

The first point I’d like to stress: study. We all know you’re smart — you made it to college, but no matter how successful you were in high school, you need to study.

Don’t procrastinate. Sure, you don’t have a test for two months. It doesn’t matter! The sooner you start studying, the better. Review lectures the same week they happen so they’re fresh on the brain.

Invest in a good rain coat and a waterproof backpack. Nothing is worse than walking around campus on a rainy day only to find all your notes are soaked.

Don’t be dead-set on your major. Plans change, some classes get in the way, and other classes can give you a new idea on a career path.

Take advantage of withdrawing. Colleges let you withdraw from classes for a reason. If you’re struggling to pass, drop the class and take it later. You’ll be at an advantage the second time around.

Don’t be shy! Make friends in class, not only will they become helpful during test time, but they often make the best friends!

One word: Facebook. It might be the most important means of communication in college, and it’s a great way to find people on campus you only meet a few times.

Before you make your schedule for the semester, do your research. Websites like and are great tools for schedule planning. Who’s teaching the class has a lot to do with your success.

You have to live in the dorms, so enjoy them. Freshman year is one of the few times everyone you know lives around each other and you can walk to class.

Enjoy the meal plan while you have it!

Colleges provide all kinds of events: study sessions, concerts, speeches. Go! They’re included in your student fees, so you might as well get what you pay for.

Get involved! Whether it’s through Greek life, religious groups, class work, or any other student organizations, college offers a lot of ways to give back to the community.

Build your resume.

Enjoy yourself. College is the last few years you have before you enter the real world. Have as much fun as you can before you become a real grown-up.

And last but not least, stay true to yourself. It’s easy to blend in in college, so a lot of people change. Whether it’s with the clothes you wear, your weekend activities, or the people you spend time with, be yourself!

Everyone has his or her own college experience, but no matter where you go it is sure to be enjoyable.

With a level head and the tips you now have, enjoy your transition to adulthood.

By the time you’re through with college, you could write a book on it.

Abby Smith is a 2009 graduate of Gordon Lee High School. She is currently an agriculture communications major at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at

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