Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Things I Learned My First Semester Of Community College // TIPS + ADVICE

School is now in session! As our backpacks and tote bags start to feel the ever present weight of textbooks and binders I thought now would be the perfect time to share some recent revelations from situations that affected me my first semester. Read on for my tips and advice!

1. Don't believe the hype.
When I first started community college I was really disappointed because going to community college didn't fit in with the (somewhat ambiguous) expectations I had from high school. As an Honors student in high school everyone goes on about how crappy community college is, how it is for slackers, etc. I thought when I graduated I would go to some fabulous school out of state, be an art major, live in a dorm and have a grand old time.

When that didn't happen my first semester grades shrunk and so did my self esteem. I let other people's ideas of what my future should be influence my attitude about my current situation. I wasn't making the best of what I had at the moment. What I learned was that you can't let other people's opinions give you preconceived notions about your situation. Which goes into my next point...

2. Form your own opinion.
I've learned over the years that everyone's situation is different. Maybe there is a class you want to take but everyone else says the professor is mean and the course load is boring. You can't just go off of what other people say.

Everyone else's most hated teacher, professor or librarian isn't always going to be your most hated. In my case, the people who turned out being my favorite and most influential to me were the ones who were downplayed. To paraphrase editor Mikki Taylor, "Don't allow people to give you untested advice." Find out what works for you. 

3. Don't be intimidated.
I've said before that sometimes I can fall victim to "analysis paralysis". At a new school everything seems scary to me. The syllabus seems scary, the people in the class seem scary, the teacher seems scary, etc. (What can I say? I get scared easily...) I've learned that in order to succeed you need to push past the fear. Once you start doing something, whether it be a research paper or learning to drive, it does get better. Maybe not always easier, but always better.

Also, you don't need to be intimidated by your classmates or professors. Everyone is human. Breathe, smile, speak to everyone on a respectful level and you'll be fine.

4. Communication is key.
If you're having trouble with school work, try talking to your professor. I've solved so many of the problems I was having with my course work by simply emailing the professor.

Email your professor before or after school or try to get help from a tutor. Sometimes all you need is to just spend an extra hour in the books. One of the greatest resources at my school is the academic support center where students can get help from tutors for free. There are lot's of nice people who are there to help you understand things, like the meaning of life. And if the meaning of life is still escaping you, they can explain algebra just fine. Speaking of time...

5. Manage your time.
If you have a laptop, the calendar is your friend. My first semester of college I was pretty scattered with my work. I would write assignments down in different places and lose track of what was due. I almost missed a midterm because I didn't write the date and time down correctly!

I recommend making a list of your assignments, reading your syllabuses and putting all the important dates in your calendar ahead of time. The notifications pop up on your computer screen in timed intervals so you don't forget your work while you're surfing the web. Once I started using my Macbook calendar, it really helped me keep up with my work. (Lo and behold, notifications are good for something!)

So there you have it, my tips and advice! Hope you all enjoyed this post and learned something to help you with the new school year. What would you add to my tips and advice list? :]



  1. This is a fantastic guide and could easily be applied to various sections of life, such as starting a new school or entering the world of work. Your first and second points in particular are very well informed and consist of excellent advice.. everyone is different and you can always make the most of whatever situation you're in, with the key being self belief and confidence :) Hope you're having a great week, Lizz!
    - I follow back on Bloglovin' -


    1. Thank you for your comment, Gabrielle! Glad you like the post! I really wanted to make this post detailed because this is something I could've used when I graduated high school, so hopefully it helps other people. And I completely agree, the key is believing in yourself and having confidence. Hope you're having a great week too! :]