How to make the most out of your college years and emerge successful?

10 minutes

They say the college years are the best time of your life – time that you will look back upon with nostalgia and fond memories. There are just so many things to do in college – friends, hang out, eat, chat, plan adventure trips, watch movies, play music, get into sports, participate in extra-curricular activities, be a star at the college fest, your first crush on someone AND yet study hard and do well in academics! Phew, too much to do?

Here is our handy guide with useful advice on how to have a great time in college and yet not lose focus on graduating successfully!

  1. Academics : Well, first and foremost reason for you to be in that college is because you wanted to study that particular course and subject! Never lose the focus on doing your best academically. Plan at the beginning of the year how you will utilize your time. Set aside sacrosanct time for studies that will not be encroached upon by other things-to-do. You need not study 24/7, but set aside enough time to complete your course without too much stress and with enough time left over for revision and exam preparation. Regular and disciplined study habits followed throughout help reduce the last-minute stress.

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  1. Exams : Let’s think about the exams differently. Do not treat them as enemies, think of exams as your stepping stones to success. Prepare with enthusiasm and see the world of difference it can make when you adopt a different attitude! Never be overly anxious about the results before the exams. Instead, focus on what needs to be done to achieve your goals in the exam. Plan your study schedule, follow it rigorously and approach the exam hall with a calm mind knowing that you have put in your best effort. Results are merely an indication of a combination of skill-sets and not necessarily your personal worth summed up!

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  1. Friends : Everybody in college is as new as you are, as confused as you are and as nervous as you are! So take a step forward and break that ice by saying “Hi!” Making friends and spending time with friends you connect well with, is one of the biggest joys in life – not just in college but even beyond. Overcome your shyness and other inhibitions and open up conversations. You will be surprised with how pleasant it is to converse and exchange thoughts with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

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  1. Relationships : Being sexually attracted, falling in love, being infatuated, getting rejected, breaking up AND feeling highly confused are all part of life – nothing to be scared of or ashamed about! Just ensure that you maintain a physically and emotionally healthy outlook through all these experiences. Scientific sexual health knowledge is important and can save you some dreadful mistakes. Also emotional intelligence in recognizing the nuances of a relationship can help you have fulfilling and happy relationships. So do not be in a hurry or feel pressurized to have a relationship. Do not give in to any pressure on crossing the next level in a relationship until you feel ready and willing. Be happy and healthy – physically and emotionally.

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  1. Family and Society : Do you feel like no one understands you? Do you feel that your parents, family and the society live in some other era and expect some unrealistic things from you? Well, you are not alone! Generation gap is a real phenomenon at times – consider the times that your parents/grandparents grew up in. Weren’t the times quite different? Society is an ever evolving organization. Do not feel unnecessarily bogged down by their comments and expectations. Maintain a healthy relationship with them based on open communication and trust, but do not give up your dreams and aspirations to please them. Remember that all they want for you is happiness after all!

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  1. Teachers & decision makers : At times, you might feel that you are being ignored, picked on, burdened with extra work or treated unfairly in other ways. Try to analyze the situation calmly and objectively. Never react in the heat on the moment, take your time and respond sensibly. You do not need to live with undue injustice, but also figure out the right ways and channels of resolving the issue. Do not be overly judgmental, biased or egoistic – stay calm and focus on conflict resolution. At other times, you might need to build a good relationship proactively – with project guides, placement officers and suchlike. Be respectful and communicate your point with confidence. Try to build a genuine relationship based on trust and honest communication rather than superficial networking.

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  1. Participate : College environment provides many avenues for active participation in various spheres – student councils and committees, cultural events, sports, social service initiatives, performing arts, college publications, fresher orientation/placement activities and many more. Find out where your interest and the best fit is and participate wholeheartedly. You will be surprised by how your personality blossoms and inhibitions fall away when you start proactively participating in group activities. It builds not only your immediate network but also a plethora of life skills such as confidence, public speaking, collaborative mindset, problem-solving ability, leadership skills – all good things that will last you a lifetime!

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  1. Social media & Technology : We live in an increasingly more connected world where privacy and solitude are becoming rarer. Digital social media is a two-edged sword – use it wisely to remain connected but sane. Do not be influenced by ‘likes’ or ‘trolls’ on social media, keep your own sense and sensibility intact. Do not live your life for others, live it for yourself. Enjoy your happy moments, share them too but do not depend on validation from others. Gaming, surfing online, e-commerce can be constructive as well as destructive. Draw a firm line of usage that will prevent you from going overboard.

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  1. Eat, sleep and exercise well : College years is when your body as well as mind are taking a different shape. Nourish both well by eating balanced and regular meals, sleeping the right hours and exercising to keep fit. It is very easy to get tempted by easy junk food and lazy sedentary lifestyle. Be aware though and listen to your body – maintain a healthy weight and good eating habits that will ensure good health in future too. Do not be affected by unrealistic body image and ideals – be fit, be happy!

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  1. Addictions : Addictive substances and activities such as alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, drugs, watching porn, gaming, gambling and more, will try to tempt you many times. Friends might pressurize you to give it a try. You might be mocked if you resist. Do not give in. Stay firm, strong and true to your beliefs. There are many constructive activities that will give the same sense of adventure, thrill and a high – such as adventure sports, travel, learning new skills and volunteering abroad. Indulge in those instead of indulging in destructive time and self-respect killers.

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  1. Internships and work experience : Nothing prepares you for the real world better than working in the real world! Internships and work experiences prepare you for the interviews and your dream job like nothing else can. There are multiple benefits of working during college years – you can figure out what you are good at and what kind of job you like, it enhances your resume, it teaches you to manage your own money, it improves your confidence and skills that employers look for, and it gives you a distinct edge during placements. Take every opportunity to do some real work assignment – on weekends, during vacations, evening hours. Learn and earn!

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  1. Talk it out : College years are also a period of great turmoil for many of us – heartbreaks, disappointments, frustrations go hand in hand with successes, joys and fun. It is all right to be confused and feel lost at times. Everyone has their share of positive and negative experiences. Nobody’s life is picture perfect. Ask for help when you need it. Do not live with negative feelings, depression and despair. Light follows the darkness of the night – sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand through the night. Seek help for sorting out your emotions during troubled times.

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