I’ve compiled some cliché advice that I am sharing with you all. It’s helped me get through what is now my fourth year of engineering.
- If you get Chegg, go in with at least three other people for the subscription. It saves a lot of money. The downside to that is only one person can be on at a time, but for now the app still works if multiple people are on. Be warned though, that if you rely on this heavily for all your homework, the tests will kill you and it will bite you in the butt. Trust me.
- Find someone who knows what they are doing in the class and befriend them. Sit next to them so you can initiate conversation and get to know them so it’s not all that awkward when you email or text them asking how to do the homework, or to take notes for you.
- Speaking of siting next to someone, sit in the front of the class. It can be off to the side, but it better be in the front. That’s where all the smart people sit, and it is a proven fact that you do better if you sit in the front. Plus you’ll be able to see the board and actually hear the professor.
- Study sessions are always better with food. Because you will want to do anything else but study when you are studying.
- SelfControl is an app that can be downloaded on your computer and phone that will lock you out of Facebook, Netflix, twitter, and whatever other distracting sites that eats up your study time. It does work and you’d be surprised how relieving it is once you’re locked out and how much better you focus. It’s very useful when it comes down to the wire on deadlines and such. I know you think you can control yourself and you won’t need this app, but you will. Procrastination’s a b***h.
- Don’t text and drive. My roommate alone was in two accidents because people were texting and driving. The first totaled her car. I was in an accident that totaled my car because the driver was on their phone. IT IS NOT WORTH IT. You can try to rationalize it. We’ve all done it. But stop. Nothing is worth your life or someone else’s.
- Always have a pair of headphones and a charging cord for your phone in your book bag. Because you will always need them when you don’t have them. One of those portable power banks shoved in your bag is nice to have as well. Along with a mini stapler.
- Do stuff that you would never do in high school. Go watch a performance. Go to the events on campus. It’s a great way to try new things for free and meet people outside your major. It doesn’t have to be associated with the college. I took a stained art class and joined a rugby team. Some of the best decisions I’ve made.
- You will eat every form of pizza there is in college. It’s not shameful. Everybody does it. Live a little.
- Amazon will give you Amazon Prime free for six months with a school email. A lot of places will have student discounts. While you’re drowning in student debt, take advantage of these small perks.
- You are paying an insane amount of money to get a degree. Don’t forget that. Work hard. Because this will shape your future and all that wise stuff.
- That being said, college is the time to discover yourself. Relax. Ask yourself what you want out of life. Enjoy yourself.
- If you don’t think you will need your textbook after the class is done, either rent it or find someone who has taken it and borrow theirs. The school bookstore is NOT the cheapest place to get your books. You can normally find someone who has the pdf version of the book but I liked having the physical copy. Whichever you prefer.
- If the professor has been teaching awhile, chances are they don’t change the tests all that much from semester to semester. They will change it some, but getting ahold of those previous semester’s test will help you know what to expect.
- If multiple people warn you to stay away from a professor, heed their warning. There is usually a justifiable reason for what they say. Sometimes you will have no choice in who you have to take for a class, or they will be the worst first year teacher imaginable. It will happen. Go to their office hours when you need help. They don’t do anything during those hours except stare at the walls anyways. ratemyproffesor.com is a great way to pick the professors for your classes and to plan ahead when you enroll for the next semester.
- Walk your schedule the day before classes start, especially your first semester when you are unfamiliar with the building names. It will help you tremendously when everyone is wondering around like headless chickens. Everyone shows up on the first day/week so get there twenty to thirty minutes early to claim your seat. In the front.
- Everyone knows there is no assigned seating in college. But everyone knows there is assigned seating in college. Once you pick your seat, that will be your seat for the remainder of the semester. Choose wisely.
- Khan Academy is a wondrous website that will show you videos explain how to do a problem or explain a concept. It is waaaayyy better than youtube and the guy who does all the videos is very easy to understand. If you don’t get something in class, chances are Khan Academy has a video that will show you how to do it. If you’re into upper level course, you may not find what you need, but youtube normally has examples. There’s no guarantee on the quality or experience of the person posting that video though.
- There is this weird thing in software engineering known as Rubber Duck Debugging. (We all know how strange the software engineer guys are.) But basically you place a Rubber Duck on your desk and you explain the problem to him. If you can accurately describe the problem, the method on how to solve the problem, and go through all the steps in a way that if someone who knew nothing about what you are learning (the Rubber Duck) could understand it, then you successfully know the concept and how to solve the problem, or can de-bug your mistake. I personally have a stress ball camel named Clyde and a pig named Pepe. They’re great listeners.
- Find a good stress reliever. Running, music, whatever it may be, it will be necessary to find something to get rid of that stress. Other than shutting down and crawling into bed to ignore all surroundings. Because no matter how much we’d like it to, it doesn’t solve a darned thing.
- Contribute to group projects. No one likes the person who does nothing but still expects to have their name on the project. Some projects will be able to be used as a reference or as a resume builder.
Some things you just have to learn for yourself. Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget why you’re there.