Starting a College Degree: Advice from Former Students

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There was a geeky lad at the hall who could name all the countries of the world and its capitals in seven minutes or less. You don't know what to make of it, as this won't be the reason behind your pursuit of a college degree. Then again, he was a Geography major student. His knowledge and passion drew him to this degree course. What about you?

Different students pursuing different degrees have different reasons for wanting a college education. Some Literature students could go overboard after showing off their bookshelf of classic titles. You wondered about the Harry Potter books, if they were lent and not returned yet. How about those comic books? A bookshelf would be incomplete without a Young-adult novel by Rick Riordan. You rather read the struggles of the teenage demigods in the Mediterranean Sea than watching Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston trying to be the American version of Tommy and Tuppence in a Netflix picture. This isn't the true calling of those who wanted to master the art of writing. In the case of Geography major students who had an impressive photographic memory, the same lad wasn't aspiring to be a contestant in "Jeopardy". Getting a degree is a major achievement, and starting one could be a daunting task. You're not afraid after what older students told you. You also did a thorough (online) research, even exchange emails with your tutor a number of ties. What have you found out?

What Do You Love?

Do you love to read and write? You could write an op-ed after you think about this question for some time. Many students would claim that they haven't read for pleasure for years while some Literature students would wonder if they could enjoy reading after studying all the literary genres that their department had offered to them. You would hear a similar line from History students while film majors won't mind a marathon of Marvel films after studying Jean Renoir's works. If you want your professors to notice your paper-writing skills, you must love to read and write. It's the same line with Math major students, where they must make an effort in comprehending the significance behind mathematical equations. They should discuss (while writing their essays), which make you wonder about your capabilities. You would do well if you don't overthink it, if not put yourself under a great degree of pressure. Try to enjoy this journey, as a few years could go in a blur. Show some resolve when there's an upcoming deadline or examination. If it’s a Shakespeare play, it would be easier said than done. Don’t hesitate to ask anyone.

What is worthy of study? You're certain that many students haven't found their true calling during their first year in college. It doesn't bother you that you would be one of them. You want flexibility, and you're open about your options after graduation. It seems like far away after you think about your cramped schedule. What's Philip Pullman got to do with it? There's a lot of it after you read the excerpt from "The Secret Commonwealth". You don't have to answer this question if you're here for the pleasure of learning. You must figure it out sooner or later, though. Do you want to make a vocation from what you're studying? If the answer is yes, look for like-minded people in your college. It should motivate you, as you need any kind of support that you need during those demanding months. The same thing applies to Math and the applied sciences, but you just have to wait. Someone could ask you about how to write an essay on a particular subject. You must be ready, yet don’t aim too high. If it’s too cerebral, you could try too hard and miss the mark.

Should you take a gap year? This question could throw you off the straight path. After all, the answer could tell how you want the rest of the term to be played out. If you're uncertain about your persistence and enthusiasm, you could defer your entry. This won’t be taken against you, as a brief experience could make you a better student. In other words, a gap year should make you prepare for the real world sooner than the others. You would know how to handle the routine better than the others, yet you won’t get the same start like the others. The finish line matters most, though. Don't forget to open up when you're down.

What's the Bottom Line?

You must be serious about the above questions, which would determine how you would fare during the term. It doesn’t imply that there would be little room for other things. You should figure out your priorities sooner, and how you deal to unfavorable situations could bode success or not. It’s all about your ability to respond to challenging situations. If you have questions, ask your tutor. Don’t hesitate to approach older students. You won’t know what’s best for you after you go around and mingle with the other students.

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