Tips for College: Keeping up with the competition and staying sane

Photo by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee |

Young College Woman Reading
By Laura Wong

There are books, magazines, and articles covering what you will face as you embark on your college journey, but there are some things you learn as you go. With one more semester left at UC Berkeley, I’ve picked up tips and tricks along the way to help me keep up with the competition and to keep me sane.  Below is a list of things I did do in college and things I should have done.

1. Take Advantage of Office Hours.

This is one of the major things I wish I had done in college. Many professors and student instructors/aids hold office hours for students to go in and get extra help. But office hours are more than just this. They are an amazing way to network and to get to know your professors’ backgrounds. More often than not, a professor has an incredible background that can help you along your own career path. In this economy, it never hurts to have more connections, and it also helps if a professor has a positive image of you as well.

2. Try Out Different Classes

Just because you’ve picked your major doesn’t mean you can’t be a well-rounded student. There are so many different courses offered to students covering every topic! You have four years of your life set aside for higher education, supplement your core classes with a few that you find enjoyable. Picking a few electives that you are sure to enjoy will help you balance out a stressful schedule.

3. Balance Work and Play

I get it. You have a GPA to keep up, parents to please, and friends to impress. Studying hard and keeping up with your classes is a top priority. Amidst all that studying, remember that college is also a place to learn from social situations. Take study breaks to rest your mind and socialize with friends. But remember this is a balancing act. If you plan on hanging out with friends at night or on weekends, be sure to study effectively during the day.

4. Use the Resources at the Career Center

Every school is different, but most offer services to help students move ahead on their search for internships or full-time employment. At UC Berkeley, the Career Center offers resume help, mock-interviews, and thousands of job listings. This is a great resource to get your on your feet as you graduate and dive into the job hunt.

5. Focus on the Big Picture

Don’t sweat the small stuff. A low grade on one test. A missed homework assignment. Focus on the big picture – the full experience of college. This is your time to find your passions, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Learn to think critically and discover what makes you unique. College will equip you with the knowledge and skills to face life-after-college, and it is the whole experience that will shape and mold you if you let it.


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