College life often presents formidable challenges and anxieties to many fresh students. Ideally, the first year should not present any difficulties at all to students apart from the nitty-gritty’s of socialization and the usual cultural shock in the event that a student comes from overseas. However, many fresh students will readily agree to the fact that this is not so in practice.
Some students find themselves completely lost in the multitude of worldviews and diverse cultural orientations presented by college life. It is often difficult for students who are ill-equipped to handle such drastic changes in lifestyle, with reports indicating that some students end up engaging in antisocial behavior while others take their own lives due to the upheavals of college life. In this perspective, learning how to endure the first year of college life is a challenge for every student.
Various studies conducted on fresh college students have revealed that adequate preparation and the development of certain life skills can make students’ adjustment to college life much easier. Ideally, some of these skills should be enhanced by high school teachers and parents during the students’ formative years to enable them to adapt more quickly and rigidly to new environments.
However, there are some sets of skills that students must fundamentally internalize to make their former years in college a precious experience to remember. For this discussion, these skills will be divided into three categories – academic, social, and life skills. Parents and high school teachers must strive to instill these skills into the students’ way of thinking to enable them to adapt well to the diverse environment that awaits them in college.
The most important academic skills that students need to know and equip themselves with while joining college can be further subdivided into four categories for ease of comprehension.
First, study skills demand that students must adequately learn and know how to prepare themselves for continuous assessment tests and end of semester examinations. Study skills can only be internalized through continuous practice. For instance, students can develop a habit of taking some few hours to study every night regardless of whether they have homework or not.
Students need to develop their research skills as most colleges undertake intensive research activities in every semester. Students must, therefore, train themselves on the development of thesis statements, correct citation of sources and correct use of citation styles, using correct grammar, and writing research outlines. College students must adequately exhibit knowledge of plagiarism and how to avoid it when writing academic papers.
This is very important as many educational institutions have very harsh procedures for punishing plagiarism. A good technique that can be used by fresh students to avoid this vice, referred as academic theft in many educational fields, is to immediately reword or paraphrase the notes they intend to use for their research-based activities. Still, in academic skills, students intending to have a good time in college must strive to develop a reading culture.
Students can actively develop their reading skills by practicing with materials such as novels, textbooks, newspapers, and essays. The practice should be aimed at reading for comprehension and retention as opposed to memorizing or cramming. Note taking and efficient time management are virtues that can also effectively assist the students in aligning themselves more with the needs and requirements of their education.
The second set of skills that students need to arm themselves with are social skills. Living with a total stranger in the same cubicle can be a traumatizing experience for many students. However, adequate social skills which assist the students in carrying themselves in a more dignified and effective manner are critical in maintaining relationships and alliances with new members. Proper adult behaviors are required in class if students are to enjoy their first year in college.
Well, prepared college students should always observe punctuality in all classroom activities as lateness is detrimental to the educational development and performance of the students. Still, some professors are very strict on time management when it comes to classroom activities. Well, prepared students must also develop strategies aimed at effectively communicating with their professors to receive critical assistance. They must always refer the college professors by their titles and surnames as a sign of respect unless authorized otherwise.
Lastly, well-prepared students must exhibit mature life skills, especially on how they relate with other students and peers. Students should strive to align themselves with various groups found in educational institutions such as sports groups, cultural groups, religious associations, and creative arts groups.
These groups play an active role in assisting the students in releasing the pressures occasioned by college life. Students should also align themselves with the study groups formed in class to assist them in their class activities. However, students must take the necessary precaution when relating to any groups that distract their attention from the real reasons as to why they are in college. Gossip, alcohol abuse, and sexual violence should be avoided at all costs.