Thursday, May 7, 2020

Surviving College - Year One

Parting is such sweet sorrow. A nice quote. And until you’ve left home for college, you won’t fully understand what it means. Waving goodbye to your nearest and dearest is of course weird, but the thought of going it alone and knowing you’ve got the safety of ‘home’ to come back to is a rush. That’s the sweet sorrow part. But the part that doesn’t get enough focus is the end of that day - in your dorm room, alone, fending for yourself. That’s the cut off. That’s the moment where all the talk, all the preparation, all the packing and all the pep talks … it all comes down to that moment where you realize “OK, well, I’m here, I’m finally here, sat on my bed, my clothes are hanging in the wardrobe and my coffee machine is plugged in, erm, right, OK, let’s do this, I guess”.  Then comes day one in class. And there’s a thing or two you may need to know.

Handing in written work - prove it or lose it

High school is a different world - much lower standards of essay are required to make you stand out as a model student. In high school, you will be praised and told you have a great life ahead of you simply by writing an unreferenced essay on something like the Louisiana Purchase after spending almost nine minutes reading the Wikipedia page. When in college, that kind of effort will see you kicked off the course. You see, everything you write at college must come complete with citations and must be laid out properly. The APA citation tool from Scribbr can help. Make sure that when you hand in your papers, you are confident that your lecturers will get the right idea of your thorough work ethic (remember, if the powers that be are looking to cut students from the course, you don’t want your name to be in the ‘could do better’ pile). 

Ask about internships and placements

If your college course does not provide opportunities in the shape of internships and or work placements, ask your lecturers about other options that may be provided by the college and not necessarily by the course. Why? Because for certain careers, a single day of work experience is worth a stack of diplomas. That might sound ridiculous, but we all have friends who landed amazing jobs through being in the right place at the right time. Sure, college degrees help. But a college degree mixed with getting noticed in the workplace can help you to launch your career.   

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