Deciding that you want to attend college is a huge decision and certainly not one to take lightly. However, there are things that you need to think about beyond if you will or will not attend. Especially if you are attending college straight out of high school, your life experience is limited but that is no excuse to head into your freshman year underprepared. Below are three major things to think about as you begin blazing your trail as a successful college student.
An undergraduate degree is arguably one of the biggest expenses of anyone’s life. With so many factors coming into play that determine tuition costs, books and other supplies, room and board, just to name a few you have to think about how you are going to fund your education in advance of deciding that you want one. Some of the most common ways to pay for a college degree include, paying out of pocket, student loans, government assistance, and scholarships.
Nobody expects you to innately know how to navigate all these options. Instead, you can use online platforms like Navient Marketplace to help you compare rates on all these options, and you should certainly compare your options. Since you will be responsible for repaying these costs (except for scholarships) it is critical that you understand how much you need to borrow, the interest rate you are agreeing to, as well as the repayment period in total, and when it will begin.
Take some time to sit down with yourself and check in. Think about some of your biggest triggers for stress and any coping mechanisms that you currently must deal with them. This new experience is sure to bring on new stressors and it is important that you have a strong foundation for coping so that you do not become overwhelmed easily. Post-graduation you will be glad you took the time to do this work in college as you are sure to have to manage stress at work once you begin your career.
Some common suggestions include, making sure that you get enough sleep, creating a time management schedule that plays to your strengths, and building a support network for accountability. There is a lot of freedom that comes with attending college, especially if you move away from home, and it’s not uncommon for students to slip into bad habits because of all that freedom. While these cheap thrills and permissions might feel good at the beginning eventually, they will cause you stress as your grades slip and priorities begin to get mixed up. Stress management skills, however, can really help to head all of that off at the pass.
As you enter this next phase of life all your relationships will be affected, while not necessarily in bad ways, it is important to understand that there will be shifts. If you move away from home, you are going to have to navigate the new normal of not seeing your parents and siblings every day. Childhood friendships may experience changes with people all going in different directions as well.
However with the advent of social media, FaceTime, and other group messaging apps there are many ways to stay in contact regularly. Set up standing appointments with the people you want to keep in touch with the most. This will both give you your space and keep you engaged in your relationships. Not to mention, especially with your parents, you will look forward to the conversations instead of feeling ambushed or hassled by their intermittent and unplanned phone calls.