That's what summer feels like, or at least it did back when I didn't have to worry about summer jobs or SAT's or summer classes. I guess it's still pretty fun. I'll be a full-time college kid in the fall, and having taken some dual credit courses, I'm here to share some of my own experiences and even offer a bit of advice. It might not be the best advice. But it's at least what I wish people had told me before I started my higher education.
1. The work isn't actually that hard. It was actually easier than some of the homeschool high-school level work I've done. The primary difference between high school and college, at least for me, was the workload (especially in my U.S. History II class, but more on that later). And the grading methods can be fairly lenient depending on your professor. Some give multiple attempts on quizzes and sometimes even tests; others grade on a curve. A few, though, are pretty strict and don't give much grace. (That being said, all my classes have been online to this point, and real-life classes might be different.)
2. Your college probably has free food. Eat it. My college has a Student Baptist Union that gives out free lunches on Wednesdays. And they're pretty good lunches complete with dessert. I've also heard about snack and sweet giveaways, but I've never attended them. That, I suppose, would be one of the advantages of living on campus.
3. You don't have to buy textbooks from the college's bookstore, but sometimes they're actually cheaper that way. There's multiple websites that will sell or rent you discounted textbooks. I personally have used both Chegg and Textbooks.com with pleasant results. Also, if you have the option to rent textbooks, do it. You'll never use them once your class is over, anyway. The only thing you'll most likely have to pay full price for are internet access codes for math hubs and things of that nature; those can easily cost over $100 but are usually less.
4. If you have the option to live at home, take it. After all, the food is free and you don't have to tell your dog good-bye. This is one of the many reasons community colleges are the best. I live about 20 minutes from my college campus, but since I have online classes, I only have to go there once a month or so for math tests.
5. Read your syllabus. Don't just say, "Oh, I have a test coming up," no, you need to look at your syllabus and circle the date on your calendar (preferably a physical copy) in a red marker. Or whatever else floats your boat. But seriously, I spent 6 hours in a single day studying for my history final because it was due on Tuesday when I thought it was on Thursday. And I also drove the 20 minutes to take a math test the week before it was due, just because I over-trusted my professor's to-do-list emails. In other words, trust but verify.
6. Go back over your tests to mark what you got wrong. And question things. If you think that a problem is right even though it's marked wrong, look it up in your textbook, and email your professor if the book supports your answer. I've gotten multiple points back because of it. Just be respectful in doing so, and don't expect your points back. Sometimes, you're wrong even when you think you're right.
7. Use your study breaks, especially during finals or midterms, to do housework. And I'm not just saying this because I secretly enjoy making people suffer. (Unless you're a fictional character, that is; I'm pretty sure I rival George R.R. Martin in my character cruelty level.) Neither am I some superhuman who enjoys cleaning things. My room looks like it hasn't been cleaned since 1890. But I would take a 5-to-15-minute break every hour while I was studying for finals to do some laundry. It's nice because you get to rest your brain, work your body, and get something done in the process. Besides, there's little chance of getting distracted and spending hours on chores like there is with social media.
8. Take time to do things you enjoy. You'll go crazy without them. Just do everything in moderation. If you love watching YouTube, like I do, try to restrict it to after your work is done. And even if you're typically a couch potato, go take a walk. Do some jumping jacks. Learn the Macarena, whatever it takes to get you moving. It's easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape.
9. This is the real world. You're going to learn about controversial things. My government textbook talks a lot about abortion, guns, and "marriage equality" (if you know what I mean). Of course, if you're coming from a public high school, you're probably already used to stuff like this. But as a homeschooler who grew up fairly sheltered, it came as a shock. I can get uncomfortable at times. Maybe you will, too. But it's really not too bad, and it is something we all need to get used to in this day and age.
10. Never ever, under any circumstances (unless you have no choice), take anything with a 2 after it. In my experience, English Composition II wasn't terrible. And that's not to say that U.S. History II was insanely more difficult than U.S. History I. It's just that we were expected to do twice as much work in the same period of time.
What tips did I miss? What do you wish someone told you before you went to college? Please tell me in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.