Surviving College 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

College was this haywire world of treacherous pits and fun-filled states of grace. I think you’ve got to have a little comprehension of what and who you are to be able to make it to the first stages of college life and as you go on, you’ll find it fascinating how you are changed by the collegiate environment.


I marked the end of my college life last March 31, 2015 and it was a glorious moment knowing that you are celebrating the end of the bloody journey you took some years ago. And as I was walking down the aisle, red gowns and caps on my right and left sides, memories of the past four years came flashing right before me like film strips. No one and nothing could have prepared me for that moment because you only graduate once in college (unless you take another degree).

And now, I thought, it would be better to share some strategies for in-coming college freshmen on how to survive (and even thrive) in the crazy young-adult world that is the university.

  1. Keep any expectations on the down-low – while some of us have better coping mechanisms, still, vast majority of us are easily taken by apprehensions and anxieties pushed by a wide array of people. College life is different from your previous educational life. So it’s better to keep it low expect for not an easy way. This is not to terrorize you but this is to keep you grounded and help you plan better and eliminate any fear from having culture shock.
  2. Consider college a journey – remember how it feels to be on a bus ride with friends? To see the places you get to pass by? College is no different. Take it easily while keeping up with all the educational advances. Each bumps, curves, slopes and turns will make you a better person as you will get to see things on a bigger perspective. Trust me, this will make your college life fun.
  3. Beat them deadline – no matter what degree you will take, deadlines are the enemies that must be taken down. The soonest you learn the art of beating deadlines, the better.
  4. Learn the nuances A: grades – most university graduates will tell you that college is not about getting high grades. It’s about surviving your course while maintaining a passing remark. Anyways, college is also about learning the skills your chosen career would entail for future references.
  5. Learn the nuances B: professors – it is as equally important as maintaining passing remarks to know your professors and I am not just implying knowing their names, no sir! Learn your professors thinking, behavior and attitudes because these variables will help you survive college. Knowing these will help you understand how to perform in class and how to get along with your professors.
  6. Take full responsibility – responsibility is a big word, yes. But it is very rewarding once your efforts are recognized. A good leader is a good listener, which is why you should stop, wait and listen before making any action.
  7. Never hesitate – it will not kill you to ask your professors to repeat what he/she explained especially if you weren’t able to get that point. Just remember to take notes and ask substantial questions because stupidity is not an excuse. (co-substantial with tip No. 5)
  8. Stay healthy – college is synonymous with overtimes. Overtimes in studying, finishing paper works, projects and assignments. That is why it is important to maintain healthy body and mind. Eat regularly and drink lots of water. It will also help to have leisure time every once in a while to lessen the amount of glucocorticoidsin your body.
  9. Sound management – there are two resources that might become the first casualties in your college life: time and money. First, manage your time. Always weigh your school stuff and extracurricular activities by asking what is essential and important. These are two different concepts and once your learn where to draw the line, the better. Second, money. If you are on a tight budget, always bear in mind what better way to use your money for. Spending is okay but spending too much? Ponder on that.
  10. Keep your friends close – college is a lot harder when you don’t have any friends to keep. And trust me, finding them “friends” is a lot harder. So once you do, remember to keep them close for they will keep you sane in the journey.

As per conclusion? College will change you in one way or the other and there is nothing out there that can really help you concretely, least to say. However, I would advise you to just go with the tide with eyes wide open. A lot of people are changed by the collegiate environment and the number one reason is because of peer pressure. It would be wise to really be conscious and smart.

To the in-coming college freshmen, good luck and I hope you will enjoy this whole new phase of your lives.


    • I was a student of Western Mindanao State University, one of the oldest and prestigious university in Mindanao (Philippines) and I have a degree in Mass Communications major in journalism.

    • I was a student of Western Mindanao State University, one of the best universities in the Zamboanga Peninsula and I have a degree in Mass Communications major in Journalism,

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