Preparing for College: Tips from a current student

Get insider tips on how best to prepare for college in this month’s blog post from a current engineering student!

Preparing for College graphic

College is a time you should be excited for. You’re finally on your own, studying what you want, and are actually a part of that student body you watched cheering in Tiger Stadium for so many years. It is a great time in your life, but if you have chosen to be an engineer you should know that going from high school to college is one of the largest (and most important) transitions you can make during your educational career. The saying, “freshman year is the most important year” is a slogan that will be pounded into your head. With the excitement of entering college it may get pushed aside, but the saying could not be more true, and hopefully this post will give some insight to how to best prepare yourself for the year ahead.

The awesome possibility of scheduling classes late in the day so you can sleep hours past that early time you were up every morning for high school is, indeed, awesome. Sleep is great, in fact I guarantee sleep will be more exciting than ever before after one semester, but what’s even better? Great grades and free time all at once…. You’ll learn rather quickly that 24 hours in a day is a lot shorter than you think. Learn NOW how to manage your time to get up early and get your day going soon. Eat a good breakfast, grab some coffee, and start knocking out your homework and studying early. Ideally make it so that you can go to class with your assignments for that day completed, as it is so much easier to focus and get a lot out of class. Plus you’ll have the rest of the day to study more for that upcoming test or get personal errands done.

Speaking of homework, and this may sound profound, but “learn” how to do homework. In engineering, working problems is the best way to learn your material. It is very tempting to google the answers to all your assignments, but learn how to sit down, use the text book, and get the most out of your homework. It will pay off come exam time. Your homework will be difficult at first because it is material you have likely not encountered before, but just take a deep breath and know it will take some time to master everything. So like I mentioned before, learn how to make a schedule throughout the day and make time for getting your homework done.

One habit that you should start doing before you even step foot on campus: to-do lists. It will make everything I’ve mentioned come a lot easier to you. Before you go to bed each night, or when you wake up, make a to-do list of everything you know needs to be completed that day. Prioritize your list, and check off each one as you get it done throughout the day. Not only is this a great way to see what you’re actually accomplishing, but it is a great feeling to check off items on your list.

As I mentioned before, and there is really no way to “prepare” for this, but recognizing that days are a lot shorter than they seem, and that you are busier than you may realize is perhaps the most important advice one can hear. You do not have the time you think you have. Procrastination is deadly and getting a head start on assignments makes life 20 times easier. Everything I have said in this post may come across as pretty obvious tips, but truly understanding that they matter and how to implement them is how one can best prepare for the life of being an engineer. Keeping things like this in mind will allow you to quickly adapt and form your own schedule and ways to be productive. College is a great time and is important to your future. Having great grades early on freshman year is crucial to that experience as class will only get harder with a busier schedule every semester. Hopefully keeping some of these things in mind will maximize your time and education at LSU!

Griffin Selby
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Hometown: Hoover, Alabama
Student Org: AADE