Steps to succeed in college

Patrick is a Television News Reporter at WVII/WFVX in Bangor, Maine, where he covers a variety of topics. He graduated from Boston University with a Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism. Since he was a little boy, he knew he wanted to pursue a living telling stories. He has over five years of experience covering events such as the Boston Marathon Bombing and domestic violence issues in the State of Maine. He is a Southern man at heart but loves that his field has taken him all over the East Coast.

They say choosing a college is the biggest decision you’ll ever make in your life, but truly it’s just the first time your parents aren’t making a life choice for you. For some that is daunting, others exciting. Freedom is the obvious prize of becoming a college student. Yet how you handle no parental restrictions and oversight can determine your success on a college campus.

Most young people get caught up in having the total college experience without remembering why they actually came: to get a degree. Listen, we all know that you didn’t choose a school solely based on a degree program or its prestige. That’s like saying I want to attend Harvard without ever leaving Cambridge to enjoy the Boston nightlife. BUT!!! It’s all about knowing when to have fun and when to focus on your work.

I’ll use myself as an example. (This is not a shameless plug but a ‘I learned the hard way’ moment) In my first semester of college I wrote more research papers and essays than I did in all of high school. Meanwhile, I had football practice and workouts. Obviously it was difficult, but my mismanagement of time compounded the problem. I often waited until the last minute to work on assignments and study for exams. I wanted to do well and succeed—I was just going about it the wrong way.

What I realized later that semester, and in succeeding years, is that proper planning cures all. I went from procrastinating on major projects, to beginning weeks in advance of deadlines. I created note cards that I would review daily in order to be sharp on test days. No one likes to do homework on weekends—so I structured my Monday through Friday schedule to allow for set hours when I attacked my course studies. I’d go from football meetings to study hall, then hit the library for three to four hours. I figured if I chipped away at something at a gradual pace, I could finish it and not rush. Personally, I didn’t always like doing it that way. In fact, it seemed silly—but it worked.

Basically here’s my point: if you learn how to manage time in college, you’ll be much more prepared to enjoy life as an adult. In your four or five years you can make time for pursuing internships, spearheading a campaign for student body government or any other extracurricular activity. You will have more time to join friends and do whatever it is college kids do.
And I was able to do all that, have a social life, while having an extreme case of ADD. Plus, I wasn’t prescribed medication until halfway into my 20’s. Just saying the answer to your collegiate woes won’t be found in a pill.

The cool thing about college that’s different than high school is that you learn how to become adults. Some people study in the morning or prefer burning the midnight oil. That’s all part of finding yourself as a human being. Getting a grasp on time management makes that aspect easier because you can become that person without feeling so pressured by the weight of the world.

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