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1. Have a planner.

In college, organization is key. Invest in a planner and force yourself to actually use it. When you get your class syllabus at the beginning of the semester, take time to go through and write down key dates in your calendar. Don't stress out about these future assignments and tests, but write them down so you know when they're coming! This will be essential to helping you plan your schedule and extracurricular events. College is an exciting time because you have more freedom in where you choose to dedicate your time and energy. That being said, it's important that you find balance. Try to manage your time so that you can take part in the whole college experience: study, join clubs and organizations, make new friends, and take on new responsibilities.

2. Try something new.

College is a time to step outside your comfort zone, meet new people, and develop new skills. You don't have to become someone you're not, but take advantage of new opportunities! You could try out for the water polo team, pick up playing the guitar, take a class in a subject you know nothing about, or join a service organization. If you find a new interest, go for it! If it doesn't work out, at least you tried. And you'll probably make new friends in the process.

3. When in doubt, laugh it out.

In college (especially your first year) it's likely you'll run into situations you never anticipated. You may have a strange roommate or a confusing professor or get lost on your way to class. These things happen. But, having experienced such things myself, I learned to never take myself too seriously. Learn to laugh, and remember to strive for excellence in what you do more than perfection.

4. Find out how your brain works.

Studying becomes real in college. Try to figure out what strategies and methods help you learn best. Do you retain information well from flashcards? Typing an outline? Highlighting while reading? Are you a visual learner? Is it easier for you to hand-write or type notes? Try to understand how you best understand material and use the study strategies that are most effective for you.

5. Use your resources.

College is a unique time where you are surrounded by hundreds to thousands of students who are probably just like you – taking classes, studying, applying for jobs, and living on a budget. Many college campuses have incredible resources that will help you succeed. Visit the career center, get to know your academic advisor, and take advantage of tutoring opportunities. Ask for advice from upperclassmen. Find ways to make school more affordable by applying for scholarships. When it comes to textbooks, consider different options such as renting or buying them online or borrowing from friends. Finally, if a campus event is offering free food, you should go!

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