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7 Tips on College Survival 101

college survival
Thomas Martino
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Published on March 21, 2014

This is a guest post by Rachael Vacanti.

It’s no secret that balancing college and work is tough.  Add in honors classes and a third dedication, and it’s even tougher.  However, there’s a few tricks to managing the stress.


1.  Take time for yourself

This could be as simple as going home for a weekend, or getting together with friends for an evening off of studying.  I took a Saturday one time and went to a really fun chorus retreat where the alto section had a blast taking a picture outside playing on playground equipment.

2.  Take it one day at a time

I know, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.  But eventually the day will be over, no matter how horrible it was.  You will get through the semester, even if it feels like you have 1,000 things to do, which I feel that way a lot, especially when things overlap in my calendar and I have to miss choir practice because of work.


3.  People will understand if you’re busy

College is known to be stressful, and have a lot of papers.  I spent 2 days writing a paper on nothing but Disney.  It took a long time and it stressed me out.  But I told my friends about it, and they were actually highly supportive.  The first thing out of their mouths was “school comes first”.


4.  Go to a sporting event

Take a Friday night off and go to a sports game.  It can be anything.  Some people might love going to basketball games, but for me personally, it’s hockey.  Go out and scream your team to victory and have fun while doing it.  Wear your school pride, grab your friends, or go solo, and sit by the loudest crowd you can find.

5.  Time Management

Managing your time is crucial, but also really hard.  Personally, pick a method of writing things down and stick to it.  Use your smartphone, use reminders, or go the old-fashioned way with a paper planner and pen (my personal favorite).  Either way, as soon as you know something is going on, writie it down.  Write down all your assignment due dates, all your appointments, your work schedule, all in the same place.  Although, a tip: color-coding works great.  Use one color for school, one color for work, one color for extra-curricular activities, etc.

6.  Don’t Look at the Entire Semester All at Once

It WILL make you break down.  I did that and I ended up in tears.  Keep track of due dates certainly, but scratching out days of class on the schedule makes it that much more satisfying.

7.  Eat

This is again, a big one, especially for people like me.  Whether you want to or not, you have to eat.  Otherwise your blood sugar gets low, and then you feel dizzy and almost pass out, which I’d rather not pass out in class.  Even if you’re not hungry, at least try and eat.  I’m constantly reminded to eat at least 2 meals a day.  I’m not much of a sit down and eat type person, but I try to aim for 2 meals a day and grazing on (hopefully healthy) snacks in between.

Personally, I still struggle with some of these.  It is tough, it is annoying and boy do I HATE sitting still trying to read very dense material.  However, at the endof the day, good or bad, I always to try to realize that I have had some great opportunities already.  Keep track of the little things, and just keep reminding yourself of them, like that A on a paper, or that really awesome email, or even just a simple text from a friend.  I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

About the Author:

Rachael Vacanti is a Journalism major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  With an emphasis on reviewing, and writing opinion pieces, Rachael has a knack for being both objective, and an ability to relate to students.  She maintains a blog for one of her classes, and just recently accepted a part-time job at Shelterbelt Theatre, as a photographer, in Omaha, NE.  Rachael is passionate about mentoring her peers, and demonstrates exceptional leadership.

Thomas Martino

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