There are countless lessons you’ll learn during your college years that won’t come from a textbook or a classroom lecture.
Some of the most important instructional moments won’t even require a specialized course. If you embrace the right attitude, college can be an exciting, invaluable time for growth and self-discovery.
Sharing a dorm room or an apartment with others can be challenging. For example, you may be an early riser while your roommate likes to stay up late to have fun. Your definition of a clean living space requires bleach and a dust rag while his or hers is much more relaxed. Having an open discussion about your differences allows you to practice negotiation skills, tolerance, patience and communication. You will quickly learn how to successfully compromise while establishing boundaries that respect both of your needs.
You will also be meeting new people on campus with shared interests. By joining organizations related to your major or discipline, you can form relationships which will enrich your college experience and form bonds that may last a lifetime.
Negotiation and Communication
Look for opportunities to present your research at conferences, submit proposals and join on-campus leadership groups. Public speaking may give you temporary anxiety, but learning to control your fear builds confidence and a definite advantage with future employers.
Follow-Through and Patience
Completing a degree produces perseverance and requires stamina, fortitude and endurance. You must study, meet deadlines, manage your time and discipline yourself to attend class. Don’t feel discouraged if you find you need help or your grades don’t come as easy as they did in high school. Reach out to your professors for guidance or contact your career service center when you have questions. They are more than happy to guide you in the right direction.
For many first-year students, college is the initial taste of real freedom. You can make your own schedule and call the shots. This also means you’re responsible for setting an early alarm and attending class the day after a late night. You’re the only one who determines whether you go to the party or stay in your dorm and study for an upcoming midterm. Accountability will quickly become a priority when it comes to making the grades or suffering with a poor academic transcript.
It’s important to take advantage of the opportunities your college offers. You will have countless occasions to meet speakers and people in the community who will positively impact your future. A mentor may develop into a close friend or someone who will open doors for you after graduation. A professor I met at a networking event in college was an integral part of developing my social skills, pushing me to speak when I was terrified of standing in front of a class to make a presentation. She became a lasting friend and one of the most influential people in my life.
Good Daily Habits
The best way to discipline yourself is through a healthy routine. Create a schedule that combines regular study time and social activities. Eat wholesome meals, get adequate sleep and exercise frequently. Your conscious decisions to make sound choices will eventually lead to automatic actions, and over time, your good habits will become second nature.
Your college years are an exciting time. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow as you evolve into a well-rounded student and future professional.
You may also like Easy Tips for Building Soft Skills. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on Huff Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.