College is not always the easiest. Trust me, I know. I am in my fourth year at West Chester University and, at times, I still find myself struggling with managing my schoolwork, social life, and making time for myself. Whether you are struggling with completing schoolwork, making connections on campus, or with mental health, I hope I can provide some tips and tricks to get you through the year. Figuring out what works best for you will take some time, but once you get a rhythm, you should be smooth sailing.
Managing Your Workload
Every student has a different schedule. Some students take 12 credits, some take 15, and some even take 18. No matter how many credits you take per semester take these tips and tricks and apply them however you can.
What do I do?
I am not the type of student who goes to the library for hours on end to complete my work, it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I put in music, shut my bedroom door, and began working on assignments that are due later that week. By taking time early in the week to complete assignments that are due at a later time, I limit the stress that could be caused if I procrastinate on the assignment. I do this every week. I have found the time in my schedule that works best to take time time to focus and begin on my work for the week.
Tips and Tricks for you:
1. Scheduling Means Everything!
Scheduling is not always a walk in the park. You may need specific courses that are only offered at one time or they may overlap with another class you’re looking to take.
2. Find What Works for You
Choose class times that will not set you back: Attendance in college is incredibly important to succeed in a class. Be conscious of the times of classes and pick the courses that you know will fit into your out-of-school schedule (for example, if you work). Accommodations will most likely have to be made, but once they are, you will adapt and be successful.
Create a study/ homework schedule: A schedule that is designated to completing work or studying will reduce procrastination and stress. Each week spread your assignments out throughout the week and take a day for one or two assignments. Try to stick to the schedule as closely as possible and a positive routine will be created, while assignments are also being submitted on time.
3. Break it Down
Prioritize tasks and assignments: Take a look at what is due. If there is a big assignment, begin this first. You can work on this throughout the week, but by starting with this first, you will have a basis of what needs to be accomplished by the end of the week, instead of waiting until the last day to complete it all.
Work in smaller parts: Larger assignments typically have multiple parts or requirements. By tackling one section at a time, you will avoid being overwhelmed with the bigger project.
Time management techniques and breaks: Set time blocks to work with no distractions. Let’s say 30 minutes. Turn your phone off, avoid distractions, and focus for 30 minutes. After these 30 minutes, take 10, maybe 15 minutes for yourself. This ensures that your work is being completed but you are also preventing burnout.
4. Creating Connections & Involvement
In the first and second years of college, many students find it challenging to make meaningful connections. The transition to a new environment, becoming independent, and learning how to adapt can make it difficult to initiate and sustain social relationships. It’s a time when everyone is navigating their own new journey, which can lead to feelings of isolation. West Chester University has a wide variety of clubs and organizations for students to engage in, and I’m confident you will find one for yourself- you have to put yourself out there!
When I was a freshman, the year was 2020. As we all know, 2020 was the year the COVID-19 pandemic was in full effect. My freshman year was all online and I had no hope for any type of the freshman-year college experience everyone always talks about. I was wrong. Sitting at home I wondered how I could still get involved. I thought about the years to come when I would get to experience the real college life on campus.
Impact of the Panhellenic Community
I decided to go through the Panhellenic recruitment process and let me tell you, I am so thankful that I did. I never thought I would be a part of a sorority, but here I am almost four years later, and I have held two leadership positions on the chapter’s executive board. During my sophomore to junior year, I served as the Vice President of Risk and Crisis Managment, and during my junior to fall semester of senior year (currently), I am the President of my organization. This experience has provided me with endless opportunities, and connections to those within my chapter and other chapters, and has helped shape me into the person that I am today.
How to get involved at WCU:
From academic and professional associations to cultural and recreational clubs, there’s something for you to get involved in. You will be able to meet those who share similar interests, develop leadership skills, and give back to the community. Whether you’re interested in joining a club related to your major, a hobby that you have, or advocating for a cause, West Chester is the place to get involved. The opportunities are endless.
Student Leadership & Involvement Website
To gain some basic knowledge and begin your involvement search take a look at the West Chester Leadership and Involvement webpage. This page provides insight into the mission of student engagement on campus and has several resources available.
- Involvement 101 : Where to get started and begin exploring your opportunities.
- Leadership Opportunities: Registration links, connect with leadership consultants
- New Student Organizations: Looking to start a new club? Learn how to here!
WCU’s Involvement Fair
Typically two times a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, West Chester holds an involvement fair. The involvement fair consists of student organizations setting up displays about their organization. Members of the club/ organization share present allowing interested students to learn more about the experience and ask any questions.
Learn more about the West Chester Involvement Fair Here and scan the QR code to view a recap of WCU’s fall involvement fair!
Take it Easy on Yourself
The transition to college life can be overwhelming, with new forms of education, social adjustments, and independence. It’s okay to make mistakes, experience setbacks, and feel a bit lost at times. These will only help you grow. Remember that it’s a new journey, and it is normal to take some time to adjust. Be patient, allow yourself to explore, make friends, and discover new opportunities. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up making 100+ more friends just like me!