Before I made the official transition into college in 2016, my mom spoke some of the most important words of advice I have ever received into my life. We were knee-deep into dorm decorating and organizing when she turned to me and said, “it is much easier to be organized than it is to be disorganized.” At first, I didn’t completely understand her phrasing. “It is easier to be organized”? No it’s not… or at least for me it isn’t! I spent my entire teen-life cultivating the title “queen of messes”. The floor of my room became an endless victim of closet explosions and laundry-hamper misses – and I would not clean up my mess until absolutely necessary. However, when I got to West Chester University, I realized my old ways needed to stay at home and it was time to take my mom’s advice. My entire college-career, I have been known as “the clean roommate” and, truthfully, I like that title a lot more than “queen of messes”.
Before the start of each semester, I take timely steps to get organized for the year. This process includes: giving my room a much needed deep clean, labeling all of my notebooks, creating folder covers for each enrolled class, and packing my backpack the night before my first class. You might think these steps are dumb or irrelevant, but they’ve truly made a huge impact on the success of my semesters and I do not take that lightly.
Make a Schedule
Similarly to ‘getting organized’, I have found it extremely useful to make a schedule. I know what you’re thinking, “we already get a schedule made for us by WCU”. Yes, every West Chester University student receives a schedule that lists the classes he or she is enrolled in and the times they meet, but as college students, we do a lot more than just go to class! For example, this semester I am enrolled in two in-person classes (it feels good to be a senior). However, while I only have two in-person classes, I have a lot more on my plate. I am also taking an online class and participating in an independent study which does not have a formal meeting time. On top of my class load, I also work as one of the Digital Design Interns for the WCU Department of Communication. Now that you know my entire life story, I think its pretty clear that my WCU made schedule does not reflect my actual day-to-day routine.
To create a schedule that accurately states your day-to-day life, I recommend starting with your MyWCU schedule. Log-in to your MyWCU account, find your schedule, and then screenshot it – I am sure you are all very familiar with this process. However, my next suggestion is to take that schedule and use whatever tool you like (Canva, Microsoft Word, Notes, etc.) and add-in the other parts of your day you would not find on MyWCU. I have found that making a more detailed schedule has two benefits:
- Creating an authentic schedule allows you to visually see what each day looks like which gives you a clear vision of when to study, when to relax, when to workout, etc.
- Not only will it help you out personally, but also it will help out your friends! When your friends ask for your schedule at the beginning of the semester, which I’m sure they will, you will give them a real-life look into your day-to-day which gives them a clearer picture to see when your free.
Do Not Buy The Textbook Until You Read The Syllabus
Okay… I am definitely not the first person to give you this advice, but just in case I am SERIOUSLY DO NOT DO IT! I am a rule-follower in every way, shape, and form. That being said, when I started college I always bought my textbooks before the first day of classes to stay ahead of the game. I would walk in to class, textbook in hand, only to find out that I did not need to buy the textbook… or even worse, I had to buy a different textbook than the one I had already bought. When I received this advice it not only saved me money, but it saved my life… that might sound dramatic, but when you’re trying to save money as a college student, it is so true.
Reach Out To Your Friends and Establish Connections
It has been five-weeks and you are finally back on West Chester’s campus AND so are your friends. Sometimes the transition from winter break to the spring semester can be tricky. Maybe you’re not great at long distance and didn’t talk to your college friends as much as you hoped? Maybe your home-town friends went back to school weeks before you did and you’re dying to get back on West Chester’s campus to reunite with your college besties? Whatever scenario you’re experiencing, make the first move and reach out! Grab dinner with your friends, watch a movie before the first day of classes, and keep those connections strong. The friends you make in college become so important with each year you move forward to post-grad life so hold onto them tightly and prioritize their friendships.
Go Into Each Day With A Positive Mindset
Someone once said to me, “attitude is a choice”. If you take a minute to reflect on that phrase, you realize how true it is. As humans, and even more specifically as students, we have the opportunity every single day to choose what our attitude is going to be in any given situation. When thinking about this semester, you could get overwhelmed and go to class with a negative mindset. However, if you choose to do the opposite you might be introduced to a brand new perspective that you have never thought of before.
The reality is that we, West Chester University students, have the incredible opportunity to receive an education that will allow us to go out into society to make a difference. If we choose to keep a negative mindset, that difference may not make waves but if we choose a positive attitude, imagine the impact we could have on the world.
For some of you, this semester might be your first or it could be your last. I am experiencing the ladder of the two and my final advice, no matter where you are in your college career, is to hold onto every semester and experience tightly. It goes by too quickly but it will change your life forever. Here is to an incredible semester, Rams! I have a feeling it is going to be my favorite semester yet!