Congratulations! You’ve decided to go back to college. It is often a scary time. But worry not, here are some tips that will make your transition back to the college life more relaxing, no matter your lifestyle.
- Go in with a goal, but be flexible– Look around your class on the first day. Notice something a bit askew? Sure you do- you may be the oldest person in the room. That’s okay! You have a leg up: You probably know exactly what you want to get out of this experience. You are on your way, not flailing around, guessing at what’s next. Having a set goal can increase motivation but should also reduce stress.
- Get social. Take the opportunity to meet new people, older and younger. A class buddy you can study with or ask what you missed if you can’t make it to class. Check out campus events or social and leadership clubs if you have the chance. Who knows, you could meet your best friend or the love of your life. Or if you have a kid, maybe you find a new babysitter? You never know who you might meet.
- Talk to your professors. Most professors are very understanding and know that life can happen. If you just communicate with them they can work with you and help guide you through your work. Email them or go see them during their office hours if you have a question, concern, or need clarification. They are people too and they do want you to succeed.
- Don’t get discouraged. It can be hard to stay positive while trying to get into the routine of studying and doing homework when you already have a full plate of responsibilities. Syllabuses aren’t just lengthy documents, they usually list a day-by-day schedule of class happenings, which gives you a solid feel for how your schoolwork load will be. Personally, I like to write all the due dates down in my planner. This saves me a lot of stress. Planners are my Zen.
- Try to develop good study habits. Scheduling can make all the difference to your college success and the amount of stress you out on yourself. Try to work a set time in to study and if that’s not possible find a quiet place you can study whether that is a quiet area in your house or the public library. Or if you work better with background noise, study in the kitchen while your children are playing in the living room.
- Get to know your resources. Most colleges have a vast amount of useful resources that are available FREE to all students that can make college feel smoother. A few resources include tutoring, writing labs, resume and career workshops, and even more for online students! I would not have passed math if I didn’t take advantage of the free tutoring. Be sure to look into what your specific school offers.
- Reflect on your life. If you’re going back to school or starting at a later age, you already have had some life experiences. And professors love to hear about them. Use those to your benefit by including them in your schoolwork or class discussions. After all, the best way to learn is REAL LIFE experience.
- Enjoy it! Learning should be fun. You are probably going back to school to learn about something you clearly have an interest in. There is also the chance to meet interesting people and have some fun. Take the opportunity soak up every aspect of it.