Real Advice From a University of Memphis College Student

Here comes the time of the year where graduating seniors are moving onto the next chapter in their lives, whether it’s becoming freshmen or undergrads transitioning into the real world. I will be in the same boat as the latter when I graduate in May of 2018. During my first few years of college, I learned a lot of things that I had to find out on my own due to trial and error. I didn’t have a lot of voices in my ear giving me advice and helping me prepare for college, so it felt like I got thrown in with the wolves. That’s why I wanted to pass on some basic tips you might be able to use for the upcoming semester.

1. Do NOT Buy the Unlimited Meal Plan

Unless you don’t mind making the financial sacrifice, the unlimited meal plan is not completely necessary. The average student does not exceed the cafeteria swipe limits that are present on cheaper meal plans. A lot of students prefer going to the various food locations including Chic-fil-a, Subway, Panda Express, Taco Bell, and Steak n’ Shake. Flex bucks are used to purchase food from these locations and the cheaper meal plans offer more of them than the more expensive plans.

2. Try to Avoid 8 a.m. Classes

I’m sure that you’ve received this advice at least once by now, but it is an important suggestion. A lot of incoming freshmen think it will be the same as getting up for high school, but they quickly realize how different the two worlds are. A lot of times you’re going to have long nights, and waking up at 6 or 7 am is going to be challenging for anyone. If you’re a morning person, 9:10 and 9:40 classes are what you should try to register for.

3. Get Involved Early

It is important to get involved early with student organizations because college courses only get harder as you progress through course levels. Freshman year is the perfect time to experiment with what you think you might be interested in. If you do find an organization that fits you, then you can already be established and in the flow of it by the time you reach upper division classes.

4. Balance Out Your Schedule

One common mistake that students make when they arrive on a college campus is overbooking themselves or not giving themselves times to breathe. Granted, I understand the desire to explore and try to immerse yourself in the true college experience, but you have four years to do this. Don’t get so involved and busy that you don’t have time to think or rest, because your grades are going to do nothing but suffer. Make some time for yourself or just to have fun with your friends and it will do a lot for your mental health.

5. Network

This goes hand in hand with getting involved. Meeting new people and maintaining friendships opens the doors to more opportunities than you realize. That one person you casually had a conversation with could be the same person that you consider one of your closest friends a year from that point. They could also be the person to get you connected with a job, internship, or professionals already in the workforce. You will realize quickly that closed mouths do not get fed, so it will never hurt to be friendly. You don’t have to be the most outspoken person either. It is beneficial to put yourself in situations that you are not comfortable to allow yourself to grow into that person you want to become.

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