There are hundreds of books, websites, movies, and shows about college life. College can be a blast, but it can be very easy to fall behind in your academics. If you can learn to balance work and play, your time in college can easily be the best time of your life! Here are a couple words of advice that might help your time in college run a little smoother. 

  1. Know which requirements you need to fulfill for graduation. – I can’t stress how important this is! You can save yourself a lot of time and money if you know which courses you have to graduate. Don’t wait until your last semester to realize a class you need is not going to be offered!

Many colleges (especially state schools) are undergoing budget cuts. This means that many of the courses that students need to take to fulfill their graduation requirements will not be offered every semester. If you are still trying to figure out what you want to major in, take as many of the classes that your college requires in order to use your time wisely.

  1. Make new friends, but keep the old- whether you are going to a college in your hometown, or studying abroad, make sure to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Your friends are your friends for a reason! Sometimes it can be hard to adjust to life as a college student. Your friends and family back home can be a great support system as you transition.
  1. Communicate with your professor- Your professors and TAs are now THE MOST important people in your academic life. Odds are, if you’re having problems with a paper or need an extension on something, go in to their office hours and give them a heads up. Your professor will have very little sympathy for your panic, excuse-ridden e-mail an hour before your assignment is due. Professors can also help your career more than you can imagine. Professors are experts in their field, which means they have connections with many of the people could be your potential employers.
  1. Stay active: I gained so much weight my first year in college, my parents hardly recognized me when I came home over the summer. Unless you’re a student athlete, you may not realize how sedentary your lifestyle can become in college. The combination of cafeteria food, late night snacking, and lack of exercise made me blow up like the Michelin man. Keep track of your diet and do fun activities to stay active. Trust me, it’s a lot of hard work to lose that extra weight once you’ve gained it!

Whether you’re a senior in college or fresh out of high school, keep an open mind and sense of humor.  You may end up living with someone who you never would have hung out with in high school, but you both might have a lot to offer one another. Someone may invite you to a concert with an artist you’ve never heard of, or to play ultimate Frisbee, or even go to knitting club meeting. Go ahead and go! You can discover tons of new interests in college or learn more about your own personal tastes.  Be sure to have fun, but don’t lose sight of that diploma!