Monthly Archives: September 2013

College Survival Guide

Since I just graduated high school, I’ve been new to the whole college experience. It was tough at first but once you get familiarized, it isn’t a big deal. Like every new student, I was nervous and lost. Prior to orientation, I visited the campus and went for a walk. I checked out some of the buildings and what is inside. I realized that I wasn’t in high school anymore and that college provided a whole new atmosphere. I would highly recommend visiting the college prior to the first day. It will put you ahead of the game and you might be able to help new or lost students. Previously visiting the campus reduced all of my stress and I was more familiarized where everything is located.

Time management is another important factor of college that I still have to master myself. My high school had the same classes every day, 180 days out of the year. It was the same rut or routine. College provides more freedom. Given this freedom takes responsibility. College courses are divided on separate days. Depending on the type of person that you are, managing your own time is of the essence.

Do not wait until the last minute to turn in or to study for a test. That will soon backfire as the college courses increase with time and difficulty. My advice to new students or anyone who wants to succeed in college is to spend every free moment you have with course books or notes in your hands. It’s always beneficial to pre-read the chapter before the lecture is given. Some of these things I found out the hard way.

Learning how to take good notes is very important to any college class. Jot down things that the professor says. It could possibly be a test question on the next exam. After taking my first few exams, I found this fact out to actually be true.  Pay close attention to what the professor says. If something is stated usually more than once it’s usually important. Professors don’t always write down everything they talk about in class lectures.

It’s also very important to read the book ahead of the class. It will help comprehension of the lecture material better. If possible, complete work ahead of the due date. Some things might come up later in the week that you have to accomplish. For an example, I complete assignments ahead of time to devote more time to studying. This technique usually works the best for me.

Another key to success in college is to not be afraid to ask for help. The tutor center is located in the library and they help with various subjects. I personally haven’t used the tutor center yet but observing how they help college students is incredible. They always seem to put in the extra effort and go the extra mile to make sure the concept is learned.

Your peers could also be helpful study partners. Get to know them and get their contact information. Forming a study group is a successful way to retain information. It’s good to quiz each other and help one another with problems. It’s also good to have this contact information due to the fact that you might not be able to attend class for some reason. Asking your peers in your class is a successful and easy way to catch up on what you missed.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors outside of class. The course syllabus states their times they are available. The professors here want to make sure you succeed. Even if you have the smallest of questions, they will be glad to answer any of them for you. You can meet with them personally or send them an email or a message through Blackboard. I’ve always found asking for their help to grasp a concept better is better than not understanding a concept at all.

I hope these tips are useful to the reader and college students in the future. I hope everyone will succeed in their future education endeavors!

James, student blogger

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First few weeks trying to start again

Hi! I’m Amy. I am currently studying Medical Administrative Assistant here at the college. I’m 32, married, no kids, just a min pin named Harley, and a family that is strange. Yes, I know. Everyone’s family is strange. But let me give you a little background before you jump to any conclusions.

My mom and dad got married when my mom was 16, and my dad was 19. So, they were kinda young. By the time my mom was my age, she had already had 3 kids, including me. My mom went through a pretty bad case of postpartum depression after my baby brother Eric was born.  So, at 8 years old, I was raising 2 boys on my own. Yeah. NO childhood. AT ALL.

The best times of my life were the 3 weeks every summer I spent with my grandma Cathy. She was the mom my mom either didn’t want to or couldn’t be. I learned about life, love, boys, and pretty much everything I am from grandma. For all of my life, she was my rock. I lost my grandma to cancer on April 10, 2004. I was in my third year at Slippery Rock as a history major, with a minor in pre-law. I had also just gotten out of a pretty abusive relationship. When you combine the three together, it wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t function as a person at all. I just quit. Everything – living, feeling, functioning, caring, pretty much anything you could think of. Without grandma to help me, I felt like a ship with no sails, drifting along through life with no clue what I was supposed to do.

I went from one bad relationship to another. I became someone I could not even recognize. My parents didn’t really seem to care. They just assumed I was continuing bad behavior from when I turned 18. I was sheltered, so when I went to college, I went wild. It got worse after grandma passed. I was all alone, with no support, no one to care. Then, I met my husband, Tim. Tim is a firefighter, a nerd, and the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. He has picked me up and helped me so much, which brings me to today.

Since college didn’t go so well the first time, I decided to go smaller. I decided on CCBC because it is close to my house, and WAY cheaper than a 4 year college. I figured at 32, I got this, right? WRONG. Well, kinda wrong. First off, I forgot that most college students are 18-22ish. Clearly younger than me. All my life I haven’t felt like I fit in. I had gotten my act together, but being back on campus made me feel like I was 18 again. And not in that good “reliving the good ol’ days” way either. Right after my first day of classes, I called my mom. She really wasn’t concerned how my day went. Immediately, the first impulse I had was to call my grandma. My heart fell like a rock in a pond. This wasn’t the first time I had experienced this impulse, but this was the first time it had hurt this bad in a while.

Every day I go to school, I get this same urge when I get home. It is actually starting to make me lose focus. I need to get my butt back on track and keep up. I’ve been doing really good so far this semester, and I don’t want to lose what I have achieved. But it’s difficult sometimes. I feel like giving up a lot. I feel like I don’t have the strength to do this. Hopefully, I can keep my head above water and keep trucking on. I just don’t know how without that safety net.

Amy, student blogger