Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The College Freshman Survival Guide - Part 1

Today marks the start of the third week of my freshman year of online college; and while that is not very much time at all, it has been enough time to start learning some lessons. :-) Such as:

  • Singing your text book reading may be a good way of staying focused, but depending on the volume could cause weird reactions from those around you. :-D
  • Fear of radiation exposure on your thighs from having your laptop on your lap for too long is a real thing - haha ;-)
  • Pens and pencils rival Waldo in the skill of elusiveness.... 

With these and other lessons learned, I thought it would be fun to start chronicling them for you all through my freshman year - while some probably are unique weirdnesses specific to me ;-), a lot could probably be helpful - if not only humorous - to those starting college soon themselves.

 So without further ado, here is Part 1 of 
The College Freshman Survival Guide

Congratulations!!! You've made it to the first week of college! :-D 
Whether you are at a brick and mortar school, or attending classes online like me, there will be real but exciting challenges to be met. Two of the biggest:

Time Management
Truly learning how to study. 

Just like a multi-day hiker packs supplies for the journey, there are some

n e c e s s i t i e s

that will help you along the way as you begin *your journey* on the road of higher education. 

Now, my list of necessary tools may be a little different than some. :-) 
However, they all fit into the broad categories of
  1. Work Tools
  2. Motivational Tools
  3. Helpful Tools 

W O R K  :

One of the MOST HELPFUL tools you can ever invest in is 

This will be a life saver. No joke. 
From assignment deadlines and exam dates, to church events and anything involved in your social life, this will be the place that holds it all for you so you do not have to juggle all of that info in your head. I would suggest one that has daily and weekly sections for list making, along with a monthly calender to fill in with deadlines, birthdays, events, ANYTHING you want to remember. 


Next up, stock up on highlighters and pens! I know, it seems almost silly to mention them. :-) But, anyone who has had to go searching to the moon and back for ANYTHING to write with, only to find a broken crayon (can you tell we have little kids in my home? :-) )...... can understand the importance of having a good, on-hand supply. 

My recommendation: gel highlighters! These things are *amazing* - they don't smudge or bleed through, even on thin Bible pages (seriously!) - and they are a great size...not too fat, but not super skinny that it is annoying to hold after a while. 

I use Sharpie GEL highlighters, which I found on Amazon.

**The above was an unpaid advertisement. I just really love these sharpies. ;-) **

And now for the "Duh" moment of this post: A laptop. Almost unnecessary to mention, but I do have a couple recommendations:

Fast processor.
Microsoft Office Word. 

For deals on good laptops and Microsoft Office Word, do a little research into whether or not your school has student discounts. Mine does, and I was able to get Office for 50% off the market price - awesomeness!

M O T I V A T I O N A L :

Yes, I am adding chocolate to my list. :-) Substitute a small (heh) square of a Hershey's bar with anything you really love:


Playing a game.

You name it.

Let's just say you have a really difficult assignment due this week that you are dreading. Break down the whole assignment in smaller, less scary chunks. Every time you complete a chunk, reward yourself. Even if the reward is just a 5 minute walk outside, you will work harder and faster knowing that you have that break coming up. 

Tip: if you choose candy to be the item of choice, moderation will be your best friend. I'm speaking from experience, people. ;-) 
It's super hard, but you'll thank yourself later if you limit yourself to one piece. :-) 

H E L P F U L 

Caffeine. Enough said.

Besides a hot cup of coffee awesomeness

{via Pinterest}

...my caffeine source of choice is Irish Breakfast Tea. It is rich like coffee, without the acidic factor - add some half and half, and you have yourself there an amazing treat. Hey, actually, this fits into the
category for me as well! :-)


To conclude, while all of these items are handy, there is one thing I didn't mention yet that will be
T H E    D E C I D I N G    F A C T O R
in your success going forward.

Immerse yourself in God's Word. 

{via Pinterest}

Even if it is just reading a few verses, the time you spend with God will be one of the single most important parts of your day. 

{via Pinterest}


And that's it for Part 1! Stay tuned for more freshman survival guide posts in the future - I'll be posting them as I live them. :-)

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