College can be the best few years of your young adult life – I know they were for me. My name is Hattie Martin and I am a current junior at the University of Cincinnati. Let’s just say, I have been in your shoes before. This time can be exciting, scary, and every range of emotion in between. The transition from high school to college can be challenging to some. Explore these tips I have learned to be valid for a smooth transition and introduction to the campus.
1. Prioritize Grades Over Extra-Curriculars
For most, the purpose of attending college is to obtain a degree. You will be taking meaningful classes that work alongside your principal and establishing a GPA to measure your success. The average GPA for students at four-year colleges in the US is around 3.15, or B average. While ‘C’s get degrees’ is a famous saying, you do not want to put in only 50% effort when it comes to college courses at the end of the day. You will have a high pile of assignments and little to no time to complete them before you know it.
In college, one of the biggest beggars of your time will be extra-curriculars. Extra-curriculars entail club sports, student government, dance marathons, Greek life, etc. I am involved in seven on-campus organizations and hold leadership positions in many. Extra-curriculars have allowed me to find meaningful community on campus and manage my time wisely.
When it comes to balancing extra-curricular and your grades, find organizations that compliment your studies and time, not overwhelm it. For you, perhaps that means joining an academic-based club or finding one with little time commitment throughout the week. As you walk into your first campus organization, fear, keep the purpose of your college career in mind, and you can ensure success!
2. Take Advantage of Campus Resources
When you first step on campus, there will be a slew of diversity and newness. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with finding a place to fit in and often be isolating. A study by the American College Health Association of nearly 48,000 college students found that 67 percent of females and 54 percent of males had felt “very lonely” in the past 12 months.
Take heart and know that there are individuals and resources in your corner! Once you step on campus, you should seek after campus resources that are available to you. They can range from LGBTQ+ center, study groups, Women’s Center, diversity hub, confidential therapy…you name it, and it will be there! Your university is not only made up of buildings; instead, a wealthy community inside awaiting to meet you – take advantage.
3. The World is Larger Than Your High School
While you are away from home and experiencing freedom for maybe the first time, understand that life has so much to offer you. Trust me; it is a lot bigger than the walls of your high school. While college is a time of learning and routine, it can transform into a time of adventure and leaping faith.
I made it a point during my time in school to travel to a new area each semester. One time, it was exploring a new city nearby for the day; another was traveling abroad to London for spring break. It has become a special memory that my friends and I all look forward to each time a new semester rolls around.
There are opportunities to study abroad, try new restaurants, memorize a new area with a different zip code, etc. Whatever the adventure looks like for you, I encourage you to take the leap of faith and go for it! Break the status quo and take this time to truly understand who you are and where you want to go with your life.
4. Call Your Loved Ones Back Home.
Just as you may be weary and nervous about moving away, so are your loved ones. For many, it can be a time of readjustment when it is time for you to part ways. As you are soaking in your new landscape and classes, take time to call them at least once a week – if not more.
Tell them about the dining hall food, clubs you are joining, what your roommate is like, etc. It is essential to keep an open, intentional relationship with your loved ones while you are in college. No matter what life may throw at you during your college years, they will be there to support you every step of the way.
5. Be Wise With Your Money
Once you step foot on campus, life can become expensive very quickly with all the activities and products at your disposal. There is nothing wrong with splurging every once in a while, but you must be financially responsible with your money.
- Check-in with your bank account balances each day to track your spending and in the possible event of it being stolen.
- Take advantage of your dining plan – eating out all the time can be expensive.
- Your college years will go by fast. Are you ready to graduate and be financially stable?
6. Soak in Each Memory
There will never be another time in your life where your body will let you eat a whole pizza at 3 am or have the excellent resources at your disposal. Truly soak in every minute. Buy a polaroid or a disposable camera to take pictures of every memory – your graduated self will thank you for it later.
After all, you never know you are in the good ‘ole days until you have left them.
Hattie Martin is a third-year at the University of Cincinnati. She majors in Public Relations, complimented with a dual minor in Fashion Studies and Marketing. Originally from Owensboro, KY, she loves to explore the Queen City, cheer on the Bearcats, and uncover new coffee shops.