For most people, college is the formative period of their lives – how well they do there determines, to a significant extent, what kind of success they can expect from their future careers and personal lives. The better prepared you are at the start of this period, the better off you will be throughout it.
While you are at college, your time and attention will be primarily concentrated on your studies and dealing with other challenges presented by your education and a new mode of life. In other words, it may be a good idea to acquire the necessary skills beforehand. So what are the skills you are going to need?
Most students are so eager to go to college because of the freedom and independence it is often associated with. However, this independence brings with it new responsibilities. Nobody is going to watch over you and remind you to go to your classes, do your homework, or study for your midterms.
From now on, it is your job. You have to organize your schedule on your own and somehow manage to find time for everything, even when it seems that there are just not enough hours in the day. The sooner you learn how to organize your time on your own, the sooner you will be able to get the most out of your years in college.
Irrespective of your financial standing, budgeting is a vital skill that is best learned before going to college and managing your own money. Even if your family does not have any financial difficulties, without proper budgeting, you can burn through the funds allotted for an entire year without ever realizing your spending habits are out of control.
Therefore, it is good to take some financial literacy courses and start estimating your incomes and expenses. After you get an idea of how much money goes in and out, you can start determining how much you will need each month to cover the necessary expenses.
Goal Setting and Prioritizing
When you go to college, your goal should be not just to study there for the allotted time and get a degree. Instead, you should both set the goals you intend to achieve further down the road and the goals you want to accomplish while you are still in college.
The former will help you decide in what directions you want to move your studies to work towards your longer-term goals. The latter will motivate you to use your time effectively and achieve visible results quickly.
Prioritizing not just means determining what is crucial for you – deciding what is of secondary importance is just as necessary because it helps you conserve your time and effort. For example, suppose you do not consider a discipline to influence your future career significantly. In that case, it may be a good idea to occasionally buy a custom essay from writing experts for it so that you can free up time for other activities.
You will probably say, “What do you mean, studying? I have been studying for my entire time in school, and I know how to do it by now!” Well, yes and no. High school is relatively lenient towards students regarding their workloads and the difficulty of material they have to learn. As long as you have an above room temperature IQ, you can most likely get away with simply memorizing passages from a textbook and imitating the examples given to you by the teacher.
Going to college signifies a dramatic difficulty spike that takes many by surprise. If rote memorization is your preferred way of studying, there are not enough hours in the day to process all the information you have to deal with.
To achieve any results, you will have to learn to make careful lecture notes, analyze the information, do independent research, use more effective revision techniques like spaced repetition, work in groups and look for assistance from your professors, teaching assistants, and peers.
While you may have worked in groups with other students in high school, it is nothing compared to how much you will have to interact with other people in college. You will have to deal with your roommates, other students in your classes, professors, instructors, property owners, librarians, coworkers, and many others.
Learning how to deal with people effectively is paramount if you want to get the most out of your time in college. They will be helpful in the future as well, irrespective of what career you decide to pursue.
People in the professional world do not exist in isolation. So while it may be a bit early to build specific plans concerning your future career – e.g., what company you want to work for and whose help you are going to need – the earlier you start to build your personal network and hone your networking skills,,, the better.
In practice, it means everything from learning how to introduce yourself to establishing profiles with professional social media websites like LinkedIn.
The skills you will need in college are numerous and diverse, but the ones mentioned here are probably the most important. Concentrate on developing them early on, preferably before you get into college in the first place, and you are bound to achieve much better results than your less prudent peers.