Your Back to School Survival Guide
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Your Back to School Survival Guide

Are you going to college or university soon? Or are you sending your teenager there? Here is how you can experience the post-secondary life as stress-free as possible while gaining a valuable education, getting involved in the campus life and creating mature friendships with memorable, possibly career-beneficial experiences. Happy studying!

Are you going to college / university or sending someone there?

Here are a few tips to ensure a thorough, educational experience with a side of fun and memorable friendships.

1. Be open and friendly no matter where you came from, what you're taking and what you're recent GPA has been. Ask to form a study group or even invite people out for a coffee session.

2. College / university is rarely how it is perceived in the movies. You're not Van Wilder, you're not Facebooking, tweeting or YouTubing your own "Project X" and even the "Stifmeister" had to give up his severe alcoholism and sexcapades to go get a real job. If you're going to party, be smart about it and don't let it get in the way of the main reason you're on the campus to begin with. You can't put "YOLO" on a resume. 

3. Do not be afraid to seek help. Do not wait until the grades have dropped and the stress has mounted to realize what should have been done. Whether they act like it or not, staff and faculty are there to teach and help you with your education. Ask a professor for clarification, use the library or seek out the various resources which can typically be found on campus (counselling, peer tutoring, etc). This will mean less pressure on you which is best for your mental health, your physical health and your transcript. 

4. Get involved! It's a great way to meet people, have unique, memorable experiences and it might have benefits for your career. Join a sports team, get involved with the student government or join a club. If a particular type is missing from your campus, find out how to get one started. You might not be the only one to want it.

5. Don't be afraid to seek other options. If you take a few classes and realize they might not be for you, don't panic because it happens more often than you think. I wouldn't recommend such a decision be made in the first week or two. The first month of many programs tend to be orientating information with more depth coming in the later months. If your mind is made up and it is too late to get a refund for the courses you are reconsidering, the most beneficial thing to do may be to finish them and research alternatives in the meantime. There is no point in spending all that money just to have a bunch of "W"s (withdrawn) on your transcript especially if a future employer was to seek out the transcript during a job candidate screening process. This would also help if you ever decided to go back into your originally chosen courses or program. 

And finally, go to class!

It is much more beneficial to not only have notes but to also know what context such notes were coming from. Hearing the topic is more thorough and memorable in the end than just skipping, copying notes off a friend or acquaintance and memorizing just that set from a particular lecture.

Note on Experience: The author of this article studied in a BSC. Registered Nursing program for 2+ years before transferring into college-level programs to attain a diploma in Business Sales & Marketing followed by Post-Graduate Public Relations certification.

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