Avoiding a Rough Start: How to Manage the First Couple of Months of College Successfully


Let’s face it, college is rough. We’re all tired, and syllabus week seemed to have gone from period of hiatus to an intense period of homework, testing, and essays. It’s common to feel overwhelmed and stressed during this period before mid-terms. Many of us, frankly, are still in our summer mood. What will make or break you throughout this semester isn’t necessarily how strong you finish, but how strong you can start.

According to The Classroom.com, about 75% of underachieving freshman will never get to walk the stage at graduation. That is, preferring to play that video game until two in the morning, instead of studying or getting the required sleep for your freshman seminar, may be the difference on whether or not your college career will benefit you or hinder you.

It’s very easy for us students to find excuses. “Oh, she/he gives too much homework!” “Why do I have to read so many pages?” “Why do I have to get up that early?” We have all asked these questions to ourselves at some point in our college career. For freshman, I’m sure you guys have already asked yourselves these question within the first two weeks.

What really hinders college students most of the time is freedom, and the strings attached with that certain freedom. Although you have the choice to go to class, do your homework, or randomly drive to Dallas on a Wednesday night just to purchase Jack in the Box, your habits will shape who you are in college.

If you want to start with strong habits this semester—regardless of your classification—you need to start now and most importantly, commit to success. Instead of playing that pesky, addicting video game late at night, read a couple of pages of that textbook, or an educational book to “tire your eyes out.” Instead of choosing to go out to Guitars and Cadillacs on Thursday night and waste your time, try going out to a local and quiet coffee shop and get ahead on your classes.

These pieces of advice I am laying out are not hard to do. They simply require your time and your effort. These two words are the essential factors of being a successful college student. Everyone when giving advice about college mentions time management, and deservedly so, managing your time will be essential to your success. How much effort will you put in managing your time or your education? That is entirely your decision.

College is the foreground for our future careers. College isn’t an extra four years of school just to torment us. College is the marvelous place of knowledge where you can learn anything and everything you want. College contains the smartest people you will ever meet in your professors, and they are eager to teach you and share their knowledge. It is up to you whether or not you take this opportunity for granted, or be as eager as your professors are to learn.

After all, college is for you. You’re not here because of your parents, or for anyone else; you’re here to learn for yourself and to benefit your future. If you waste your time and are mediocre in college, chances are your habits will stay that way after you graduate (if you do so at all).  

So, manage your time, put in the effort, do your (own) work, and strive for success. College is a beautiful time in our lives, and although I focused on doing well academically, never forget to have fun and enjoy yourself. How high will you soar?