When did it all become so overwhelming?
Since when did I have so much trouble sleeping?
Why is there so much homework?
These are all questions we start to ponder after we have started our first year at college, whether that semester is at Yale or community college. This is a time of growth and learning, maturation, and the first fumbles into freedom and the consequences of freedom.
The key to getting through freshman year of college isn't all-nighters. It isn't energy drinks. It isn't even paying off the Teacher Assistants. Instead, college is a little bit simpler and more complex.
Don't overload yourself. The appeal to a heavy schedule (16+ hours a semester) is in (hopefully) getting out of school early, and thus saving money. They problem with this theology is the flaw of the day. With only so much time to focus on the work that professors assign, time management is crucial to successful study sessions and test taking. Without proper sleeping habits and eat habits, grades suffer tremendously. This suffering comes from many areas, but will happen more often when we overload our work schedules with too many classes. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to get through it all. Remember that your school probably has academic advisers who will be able to assist you with finding the right classes to fit your scheduling needs and your major choice. The advisers your school provides can save you lots of academic and financial advice that might have gotten overlooking in your search for information online or in books.
Make school your first priority. With so many other options to consume your time, it's easy to distract yourself with concerts and numerous clubs offered around campus and town. Scheduling your homework and study sessions first will result in better grades, sleeping habits, and more fun while you are enjoying your free time. When you aren't worrying about that test tomorrow because you know the material, that concert or toast party is more enjoyable. It's easy to forget an assignment due next week in English, but if you make it a priority to finish that essay early, you'll be saving yourself later several fold. By finishing assignments early you will be able to make several drafts, correct incorrect information, seek feedback from Teacher Assistants and professors, as well as enjoy the weekend properly without all the stress that comes with putting work off until the last minute.
Remember to follow proper grooming habits. It's easy to set that alarm back a few minutes or a few hours when you stay up late doing homework to maximize sleeping time, but this leads to more problems down the road. When you neglect proper grooming, you will make yourself more uncomfortable down the road with possible body odor, increased acne, and general misshapen appearance. Appearance isn't everything, and it definitely shouldn't be your first priority in getting through freshman year in college, but leaving the way you look unchecked will possibly lower self esteem down the road. No one wants to feel bad about the way they appear to others.
Your appearance isn't everything, and you shouldn't be judged too much by the way you appear. Keep in mind, however, that a great self esteem booster is fantastic hygiene. This includes: brushing teeth twice a day (with flossing!), regular showering, regularly washing your face, regularly washing areas of the body that get dirty fast, cleaning out ears, clipping nails, etc. All of these simple personal hygiene steps will save you lots of worry and let you focus on school.
Relax! It's easy to stress out too much while trying to get through that first year, but once you have the school side of college down, it pays off to get the social side under your belt as well! Get to know other students, as well as the surrounding town. Once all of your work has been completed, you'll be able to better enjoy your free time and to experience what it's like to be a college student. Stressing out too much won't help your GPA, so try to get some relaxation and sleep in the mix too.
College can be tough, but with enough dedication and patience, you will be able to enjoy your classes and your free time more than ever.