The Beginning of the Best Years of Your Life
By: Veronica Pistek
Entering the college life is an adaptive adjustment; finding a balance between studying, getting involved in extracurriculars while trying to maintain a social life all seems like walking on a tightrope above New York City.
Take a look around you, it’s your first month on a real college campus. You’ve spent half of the money you had saved on textbooks, your professors don’t know your name, and you cannot seem to sit still during your exhausting three-hour lecture.
It sounds like it’s time to get educated outside of the classroom.
First things first, buying overpriced new textbooks will have you and your wallet feeling empty. These tools are essential for most classes, but there are definitely cheaper options.
Not only do Amazon.com and Chegg.com sell used textbooks, but CSI’s bookstore in the Campus Center also offers an opportunity to purchase used textbooks.
Another alternative to save money is a Facebook page called “CSI: Sell Your Textbooks,” where students resell the textbooks they no longer need for a discounted price.
Once you have your course materials, be sure to read before class. Setting this as a habit early during your freshman year will allow you to get the most out of each course, while stepping foot in class with knowledge to focus and participate.
Now, getting a professor to know your name may sound pretentious, but start your college career off by creating a bond with professors who may be helpful for you in the present and future.
Simply say hello to your professors on a daily basis, sit near the front of the classroom, speak after class or e-mail them with any specific questions, and even meet them during their office hours.
Forming close connections each semester with your professors will benefit your understanding of the course and might even help out your GPA.
Most importantly, these educators are the ones who may help you with job connections, internship opportunities, and those important recommendation letters.
Navigating classes will come naturally (once you memorize the CSI map), but sometimes the shift between high school and college will leave you feeling lost while learning the course content.
CSI offers various opportunities for tutoring in Humanities and STEM subjects by The Center for Academic Student Assistance in the Library (1L) and Building 1A.
Also, The Writing Center in building 2S has on-site tutors that can help you build your writing skills, enhance your reading abilities, and even just check over your lengthy papers for grammar and other mistakes.
Tutoring is key for solidifying what you already know, and gaining assistance in the areas that you are struggling in—especially when midterms and finals creep around the corner.
On the topic of succeeding, no paper or assignment is worth your mental health. Know that anxiety in college students is common, so educate yourself on staying healthy and do not hesitate to reach out to a friend, staff member, or counseling services.
While your academic life should come first, make friends inside and outside your major. Form relationships with energetic people who you can see spending the next few years with and will be there for you when needed.
You can meet new people by joining the club or sport you always wanted to try. Broaden your horizons and check out the clubs that you did not have in high school.
CSI has endless activities and intramural sports to get involved in; going to general interest meetings will help you determine where you see yourself dedicating your free time to.
Besides building friendships, always be polite and have conversation with the employees on campus such as the shuttle drivers, the café cashiers, the public safety officers, and janitors. Appreciate the people who make efforts to enhance your experience at CSI everyday!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life. Taking an advantage of all of the resources that CSI offers is essential if you want to have the best experience possible.
Remembering that you are getting an education for a higher purpose, whatever yours may be, will keep you focused once those hard times start to take over.
Overall, college is the time of your life to become enriched with knowledge you might not seek otherwise.
Engage in relationships outside of your norm, and challenge yourself internally to follow your dreams and work hard for them.