Santa Barbara
61° F
Santa Maria
57° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
San Luis Obispo
57° F
62° F

College students have to balance class, fun

By By Lexi Nisita, Contributing Writer
Published On: Aug 30 2011 08:08:28 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 16 2013 08:52:40 AM CDT
woman in lab

Look out, college freshman. Just because you’ve passed through the hormonal turmoil of high school doesn’t mean you’re not in for a period of rapid and drastic change.

The first year of college, whether you’re at a tiny liberal arts school or a gigantic university, poses a seemingly endless list of challenges and opportunities that can be scary. But never fear! There is a way to conquer that daunting first year with dignity and grace.

Despite what National Lampoon seems to think, the purpose of a college education isn’t binge drinking. Certainly, students should take advantage of all that college has to offer outside of coursework. This includes new friends, extracurricular activities and a social scene that may be very different from the one you knew back home -- all far away from a parent’s watchful eye. But with great freedom comes great responsibility, and it’s equally important to suck every last drop out of your tuition by maintaining good grades and investing wholeheartedly in your coursework.

Dr. Robert Seybold, a senior psychologist and Program Director at the University of Minnesota, urges students to be clear in their goals before starting college. Seybold says that when he meets with students who have been suspended for poor academic performance, “the one thing that they’ve all had in common is that none of them could explicate to me why they were at the university.”

Students can avoid losing track of their academic and personal goals by sitting down and writing out a clear list before the school year begins. Seybold advises that “it is a very significant time of personal transition. It’s mostly important for students to be clear about what their reasons are for coming to college and making sure that they’re very intentional about keeping up with their goals.”

Another big difference between college and high school is the lack of structured time in higher education. In most high schools, every hour of every day is packed with a rigid schedule and faculty and parents are there to chastise those who deviate from the plan. In college, professors won’t usually provide incentive to keep up in class. They assume you’re there because you want to do the work, and expect you to do things for your own reasons. One of the most important things you’ll learn in college is that if you want something done, nobody else is going to make sure it happens. You’re the boss now, and you’ll have to take charge yourself.

Never before has multi-tasking been so important. Dr. Mark McLeod, director of the Student Counseling Center at Emory University in Atlanta, says that American colleges and universities are unique in that they go far beyond the basics of education. He urges students to use all of the resources around them, encouraging freshman to “be open to meeting people who are different from you as well as having new experiences. Seek out and find extracurricular groups that interest you, join them and be a full participant. Try joining a group that is involved in something you have never done before. Get involved in college life. If you are shy, tag along with a friend … but get involved. Take a chance.”

Don’t be afraid to use the many support systems available to you. Resident advisors, orientation leaders, and academic advisors can be a friendly face as well as a source of guidance. These and other resources like your school’s counseling center are available to students, often for free, in a way that is unique to a college campus. And, of course, your family is still there for you even if they’re a long-distance phone call away.

Of course, none of this advice means anything if you enter college with a negative attitude. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. It’s normal to be scared and nervous about making new friends and dealing with a heavy course load, but, McLeod says, “Most students, if they are honest, will admit to being anxious as well as very excited.” As you watch your parents drive away, or if you struggle with homework or finding your social niche, don’t let that excitement slip through your fingers.


The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • package delivery mail

    iStock / sjlocke

    8-year-old receives box of condoms in the mail

    Parents are seeking answers after a package containing condoms was mailed to their 8-year-old daughter.

  • sanda_barbara_fire_department_haircut_sbfd

    SBFD Shave Heads To Support Firefighter With Cancer

    The Santa Barbara City Fire Department came together Friday to support one of their own who's battling cancer.

  • Roger Aceves

    Roger Aceves Runs for Santa Barbara County Supervisor Seat

    Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves is running for Santa Barbara County Supervisor.

  • randy_ramirez_david_martinez

    Shooting Suspects Arrested

    Two men are behind bars Friday in connection with a shooting on March 11 that occurred on the 1600 block of North Mary Street.

  • Maximum Protection from a Pest at Cachuma Lake

    The County of Santa Barbara Community Services Department Parks Division has received Board of Supervisor’s approval to increase protection from aquatic invasive species at Cachuma Lake.

  • Bunny Therapy Helps With Recovery

    Meet Axel Rose: Therapy Bunny Helps With Healing

    Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is making special visits to some of the area's senior care/assisted living homes with their pet therapy bunny, Axel Rose. Axel is a certified pet therapy bunny who participates in VNHC's pet therapy programs for their patients, and they are taking him around to make these special visits to patients before the Easter holiday to spread some love and cheer.

    A visit from a pet often leads to both physical and mental health benefits. VNHC nurses notice lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, lower overall physical pain, and that the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, sometimes reducing the amount of medication necessary.

  • destroyed_military_ordnance_solvang

    Military Ordnance Identified And Destroyed In Solvang

    A large military shell left in a downtown Solvang garbage dumpster prompted hours of acThe Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Bomb Squad, along with Vandenberg's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team, retrieved a large military shell left in a dumpster  ordnance from downtown Solvang around 1:30 Thursday morning, and took it to a remote location where it was destroyed.

  • drought_farmers_water_dry

    Water Allotments Increase for California Farmers

    California farmers and cities are set to get more water, as state and federal officials ease drought-related water cutbacks because of recent rain and snow.

  • Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott

    REUTERS/Fred Prouser

    Affairs to remember: High-profile cheating

    Actress Tori Spelling recently spoke publically about her husband and fellow actor Dean McDermott's affair. But he's not the first celebrity to get in hot water over extramarital activities. Check out this list of high-profile celebrity affairs.

  • Easter basket, candy

    Most-fattening Easter candy

    You may pack on the pounds stealing these goodies out of your child's Easter basket.