You’ve just about finished finals and are heading home for winter break! I personally loved those few weeks to not only spend time with my family but to reset with my life plan. Classes for the next semester are more or less finalized so the next major thing to think about is SUMMER!
As a freshman in college, I had no idea how to manage my time. The line between school, home, library, and extracurriculars all blurred together and I struggled to find a way to efficiently do it all. I tried keeping track of things in my head or writing them down on sticky notes and a planner. But what really worked, and what I still recommend to every student to this day, is Google Calendar! Seems simple enough right? Just block off everything on your schedule? Let me tell you, there is so much more you can do.
Many colleges, especially big public schools like UC Berkeley that focus heavily on professional development, have a bustling culture centered around student-run organizations. There are clubs for everything ranging from consulting, pre-health, to putting on speaker events. Every year the competition to get into these student orgs becomes more and more ridiculous since there’s so much interest, and as a result the application processes becomes longer and longer.
In my last blog, I talked a little bit about how to fund your college education with scholarships, but another great way to offset costs is by working part-time while you're in school! It can sound so unmanageable to both work and be a student at the same time, but it is a reality for a lot of us who need to make a little extra to pay the bills. Here is my overview of working in college.
Back in high school, there were roughly 30 students in every class, so getting to know my teachers was nearly an automatic experience. But once I started college at a public university, where my lectures had anywhere between 30 to 500 other students, that task became a lot more difficult.
While productivity should always stem from your personal motivations and desires, having tools that can help to organize your thoughts and assignments can absolutely help you do your best work.
Maintaining your own mental health can feel like a full time job - especially because it’s something that not a lot of people want to or know how to talk about - particularly in college.
There is definitely no easy answer to this. In fact, maybe there is no real answer at all. But from a fellow premed, I thought I could give you some tips.
For incoming college students, college move-in is right around the corner! Something new that a lot of incoming college students will experience is living in the dorms and sharing a bathroom with roommates and potentially 30 to 40 strangers!
College classes are unquestionably different from high school. It’s hard to know if the study habits you had in high school will carry you through your classes in college. Personally, I never had much of a routine in high school. I went to class, took notes, did the homework, and reviewed assignments a couple of days before the exams. This may have helped when I was younger, but I definitely needed to develop new study habits when I began taking STEM courses at UC Berkeley.
Committing to a gap semester or year can be a difficult choice, and is definitely not a decision to be taken lightly. Taking a gap semester can mean that you will graduate later than your peers, which means having to spend more money on housing. Making the decision without a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish during that semester or goals may not always be the best idea either.
When I was considering which colleges to apply to, research opportunities were a huge deciding factor. I had enjoyed science fairs and in-class lab experiments in high school, but I was ready to dive deep into a more intellectually stimulating environment - academic research. I knew that this would be the best way to apply all of my science education and gain experience for medical school. Let me give you some background about my research experience before going into some tips and tricks!
The transition from high school to college academics can come as a bit of a surprise to most people. No matter how hard you practice your study skills and how well you think you take notes, college level courses still might throw you for a loop based on how much work they really require, and the caliber of content that is given to you to learn.
College is an incredibly transformational time in anyone’s life. No matter your path to college, the 3, 4, or 5+ years that you spend earning your degree will teach you an assortment of hard and soft skills that set you up for success later in life. Though at times your college workload may feel overwhelming and far from the expected day to day demands of adult life once you graduate, the work ethic and mix of skills that you acquire in college will set you up to tackle a wide range of problems and handle whatever life throws at you.
For incoming college students, it is that time of the year where you will have the ability to sign-up for your first semester of classes in college! This can be a big change from scheduling classes in high school as you will now have a lot more freedom and many more class options to choose from.
In my last blog, I talked about some items that you should bring to your college dorm. Since I lived in the dorms at UC Berkeley all four years of college, I’ll be sharing some items that you should not bring to your college dorm.
Coming into college, most students opt to live in the dorms for a variety of reasons. At UC Berkeley, 95% of first-year students live in on-campus housing, and at many other colleges, this percentage climbs even higher. Even after the first year, some students opt to continue living in the dorms if possible, whether that be by personal choice, employment (becoming a Residential Assistant), or convenience. Here are some factors to consider:
As the national deadline to commit to a college quickly approaches, the next step in your college journey will be to start thinking about and purchasing items you need for your college dorm room! Living in the dorms at Berkeley all four years of college, this blog contains a list of items you should consider bringing to your college dorm.
When it comes to healthy study habits, many high schoolers tend to think they study well, until they get to college. However, this doesn’t mean that you haven’t been studying well this entire time, but rather that college-level courses and the pace at which new material is presented to you changes completely, and what worked for you in high school might no longer work for you in college.
For most people, the dynamic of college life is something that is brand new, and can be difficult to navigate. Managing your time can prove to be much harder than it was in high school, and a lot of the day that was once taken up by a rather rudimentary timeline of waking up, eating breakfast, going to school, taking classes, eating lunch, taking more classes, and ending the day with an extracurricular activity, homework, or social outings, now has a bit more flexibility.
Going to college can be very daunting because you are leaving the comfort of the hometown you grew up in and venturing off into a new stage in your life. When attending college, whether online or in-person, you will be surrounded by many people from all different parts of the state, country, and world. Even if you go to a school where friends from high school are attending, you will still be in a new community with the opportunity to meet new people.
Throughout my life, I’ve always been someone to prioritize enjoying the moment: I never wanted to dwell too much on things, and I always wanted to feel present in everything that I did. Even when I felt sad or down, I wanted to find energy to pick me up elsewhere: seeing friends, watching a new TV show, going on an adventure - I found external ways of finding joy in my life, and while I found happiness and strength in embracing those things, it wasn’t until college that I realized that I couldn’t always look elsewhere for strength, and that living in the moment wasn’t always enough.
Academic Advisors can be some of the most helpful resources for students in college, particularly for those enrolled in a large university with a ton of classes/courses. Sometimes, advisors are assigned to a lot of students, which makes it a bit harder to get time to speak with them, but being proactive, consistently reaching out, and planning ahead can ensure that you get the one-on-one time you need with an advisor, and that you get all of your questions answered.
Currently, many school districts and colleges are still implementing an online class model for spring classes. Some schools are even trying to have a hybrid model, where some classes are in-person and some are online. Other schools are sending students back to in-person school by February and March of this year. Even with all of these different models, you will still probably have to do online school for some time longer. Grades are even more important now in college admissions because many universities are steering away from standardized test scores, so check out my top 10 tips on how to be successful in online classes.
When it comes to housing, most colleges have a pretty clear breakdown of what to expect in on-campus dorm arrangements - everything for pricing, meal plans, and transportation logistics, all the way to roommates, dorm layouts, and common area amenities. In many cases, colleges even promise guaranteed housing for 2, 3 or even all 4 years, which makes the housing search either much easier, or non-existent for many students. However, if you’re like me, you might attend a college that cannot actually guarantee more than 1 year of housing in campus-owned set-ups, so you’ll be responsible for figuring out arrangements for the majority of your time as a student.