Fall semester is officially here. For those students who are new to Salt Lake Community College, finding the ins and outs of college life as well as adjusting to new surroundings may cause unease.
To save younger students the heartache of failing a course or breaking the bank for an unnecessary textbook, here are the Do’s and Don’ts of college life; according to several senior students at SLCC who have trudged the bumpy, Cheetos-stained, tear-drenched days of college— and lived to tell the tale.
1. Take a computer science class. Now.
If you decide you like it, a computer science or computer science/math major will get you very far in life quite easily.
2. Take study breaks.
Ideas? Take a nap, read a book, or go to the gym.
3. Take advantage of your meal plan.
4. Set aside one day, perhaps on the weekend, to go out and explore off campus.
5. Find a sport you like and use it to stay in shape.
This doesn’t necessarily mean playing a varsity sport, it can be as simple as a weekend game of ultimate Frisbee with your friends.
6. Explore campus for the first couple of weeks.
Not only because of the cool places you may find, such as a comfortable couch to nap on or quiet nook where you catch up on Game of Thrones, but also because you may meet some cool people.
7. If you are paying for your education, whether that be directly or via loans, go to a two-year school that has a transfer program to a four-year institution. It can save you a lot of time and money.
8. If school tuition is coming out of your earnings, start at the tech level. Class sizes are typically smaller, especially for courses like biology, chemistry, physics, math, or intro courses (psychology, sociology, etc.).
9. Take some courses outside your area of interest to explore other degrees.
Yes, you may know that you want to be a metal sculptor or a doctor or a history major, but explore some classes and expose yourself to radically new ideas. You may discover something that is really stimulating that you normally would not have encountered – but in the least you’ll be given a different framework to think in besides those you are comfortable with.
10. Start your assignments as soon as you get them.
11. Work towards an internship.
It looks great on a resume and provides real work experience that can be used for years to come. Whether it is an internship, student job, student group, etc. are all equivalent – but get involved and get experience in what you want to do during college. Practical experience and meeting people in your industry are what will land you a job once you graduate, not the degree itself.
12. If a required class is full, go to the first class anyway.
Many students drop the class after the first week and spots become available. Then if a spot opens up, you will not be behind.
13. If you really want to be in a class, attend the course and talk with the professor afterwards.
Chances are that they will try to find a way to get you in if you are excited about the subject and motivated to participate – they would rather have a student that wants to learn than one there ‘just to meet a requirement.’
14. Sign up for as many classes that you can.
“Interview” your professors to see if they are a good fit for you. Look over the syllabi, evaluate the course load and consider your interest in the listed topics before finalizing a class list.
15. If things are going bad and you can afford to, drop the class before it hurts your GPA.
16. Writing and paraphrasing engages you with the text more than just highlighting.
17. If you are planning to transfer to another college after graduating, meet with an advisor, research Colleges and Universities and participate in transfer activities.
Last but not least, remember that college isn’t just about learning what to do, it’s about learning what not to do. Hopefully this list will help new students prevent making mistakes that detract from the college experience. Enjoy your first semester at Salt Lake Community College.