4 important life skills college students need from the start
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest column by Brooke Chaplin
College is a time of great change for students who are used to living under their parents’ rules and protection. While some will commute and still live at home, a majority of students live on campus, and first-timers may be in for a rude awakening. These are just a few challenges students may encounter as they adjust to college life.
Students just getting to college may not be accustomed to taking responsibility for their own schedule. They may have always had parents waking them up in the morning and nagging them to do their homework. Now, it’s up to you to get up for class and be diligent about completing assignments. Organizational aids can be a big help if you learn to use them right; a solid day planner is of great use for keeping track of what needs to be done and when. Schools are great to provide most schedules and assignment due dates in disclosures and websites, but for your own aid, make sure you put them all in one schedule or planner you can update and check yourself.
Eating properly can be problematic in college. If you don’t have a built-in plan for food, you may be tempted to just skip as many meals as possible in order to save money and time. If you don’t eat enough, you won’t have the energy you need for good study habits or optimum physical health, and if you do have a meal plan, you might be tempted to overeat, since food is so freely available. Pay attention to your food intake so you can try to avoid that dreaded Freshman 15. What’s more, if you do eat an especially large meal, try to make up for it with an extra-long walk around campus. College life can be very conducive to exercise, so if you are diligent, it should even out.
If you’ve never been exposed to drugs or alcohol before, college can be a very dangerous time. Make sure you are always aware of what you are putting into your body and resist the temptation to experiment with illegal substances since the dangers far outweigh any potential benefits. Trying new things can always be fun and is part of the college experience, but make sure you do so safely and legally and with people you’re comfortable with. If you find yourself getting hooked, don’t be afraid to go to a professional for help. Or if you have a friend suffering the ill effects of drugs or alcohol abuse, gather some friends and stage an alcohol intervention to encourage them to find help. What is an intervention? If you’re not sure, you might need to seek out a service that can get you the right information on who should be there and what to say.
Chances are, you’re already paying student loans or taking them out for the first time, but you don’t want to add credit cards into the mix. Credit card companies prey on college students with enticing introductory offers. Before you know it, you’re thousands of dollars in debt as you spend money you don’t really have. Do yourself a favor and stick with cash and savings during your college career.
These are just a few tips that will help to make your college experience more enjoyable. College is full of important lessons, and many do not occur in the classroom. Stay safe and smart, and your education will be worth the ride.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on getting help with drugs, or if you have a friend suffering the ill effects of drugs or alcohol abuse, gather some friends and stage an alcohol intervention to encourage them to find help. What is an intervention? If you’re not sure, you might need to seek out a service that can get you the right information on who should be there and what to say