You may have been an honor student in high school or just squeaked by. You may be headed to an out-of-town college or a local one. Either way, I hope you find college to be an exciting, enlightening, enriching experience. And I hope that you'll not only enjoy yourself but that you'll learn critical skills that will impact the rest of your college career and provide you with a tailwind for thriving in the adult world.
To give you a head start, here are my top three tips for having a successful college experience:
1. Build Your Resilience
Lots of experiences in college will stress you out. It may be your course work, professors, roommate, friends or love life. Resist the urge to call home to complain or quit every time you hit a bump in the road. Instead, learn to thrive on challenge, cope with setbacks, bounce back from adversity.
Do you need to do this all by yourself? Not at all. Resilience is best understood as a process in which you gain the skills to deal with stressful situations. But you won't be gaining any skills if you ignore the issue, blow off the problem or call your helicopter parents right away to solve the problem for you.
2. Be Persistent
If you are a praise junkie, used to receiving multitudes of "good jobs" for every little achievement, you may be in for a shock. College assignments are generally global. Nobody praises you until you've completed the total assignment and perhaps, not even then. So, be persistent, motivating yourself to continue the task despite feeling frustrated.
Learn to break down larger tasks into smaller pieces that are easier to accomplish. Learn to stay with an assignment even if it's tough or boring. Be persistent even when you fail. Too many people use failure as an excuse to give up. You, however, can learn to use it as a challenge to make you stronger, smarter and more self-confident.
3. Keep Your Procrastination At Bay
Accessible, appealing, affordable distractions are everywhere. Digital devices ding, social networks seduce, beer parties beckon. It's hard to stay on task when so much else is enticing you. But stay on task you must. Give in to your tendency to put things off and see how quickly you'll find yourself on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.