As a senior this Fall at Purdue I've had a lot of time to think about what I wish I would've know about college before I actually started. By my junior year I feel like I had a pretty good system going on how to manage my time and get the most out of my college career but I can only sit and think what it would have been like if I had known these things before my freshmen year. I'll list off what a few of these things are.
1) Use a Planner of Some Kind
I never used a planner in high school, not once, I never really needed it. I thought that this strategy would be just fine when I came to college; it wasn't. It was fine for about three weeks when there wasn't much going on besides a reading here and there and weekly assignments but once exams rolled around I was forgetting about things left and right unless I had them written down or by some miracle just remembered. Starting first semester of my junior year, at the beginning of every semester I write down my entire schedule that I know including exam dates, when weekly assignments are due, and meeting times so that I know I won't forget to do things and can stay on top of my work and possibly be able to work ahead as well.
2) Hold Leadership Positions
Obviously the first reason I came to Purdue was to get an education but I also wanted to as well rounded of an individual and have gotten as many new experiences as possible while I was here. Most people, regardless of you schooling level, tell you to get involved in clubs and organizations so that you can get to know people and have fun and I completely agree, but what most people don't tell you to do is to actually be involved with those clubs. When you join an organization or club don't just go to the meetings to go, run for an office and hold a leadership position. Leadership positions within various clubs and organizations can get you valuable experience that you can use later in life as well as help you earn connections within the university and industry.
3) Get to Know Your Professors
This to me might be the most important thing you can do of the three tips I've given you in this blog. When I got to Purdue I didn't think this was important at all, I was extremely wrong. You're classes in the agronomy department may not be massive and everybody may pretty much know everybody but having a good relationship with your professor is crucial. Every professor is willing and able to help any student in any way they can you as a student just need to ask for it. Going to small review sessions, office hours, or emailing your professor and asking for a private meeting are all good ways to do this. Make sure your professor knows you're trying and that you want to learn about what they are teaching you. Being in good graces with your professors can benefit you in more ways than one and I highly advise that you strive to make it happen as best you can.
I know these three things sound pretty basic and I agree with you, they absolutely are, but if I would have listened when people told me these things before I came to school instead of learning the hard way halfway through my career.
Until next time!