1. TIME MANAGEMENT. Set realistic goals and the time needed to accomplish them – and then add another 15 minutes as a buffer. Life happens all around you and is constantly trying to distract you. Budgeting your time also means scheduling your down time. A balanced schedule is a balanced life.
2. HEALTH. In addition to a good diet, sleep and exercise – get to know the staff at your health services center. Make sure that your medical file is up to date with any prescriptions, allergies or directives that they need to know about. Make conscious choices that contribute positively to your physical and mental health and you will do yourself a great service. Oh, and take it easy on the coffee.
3. FRIENDSHIPS & RELATIONSHIPS. You need to be a friend to have a friend. Step out of your comfort zone and make the extra effort to make new friends and keep in touch with those you already have. There are so many new people from all walks of life and all ages ready and willing to start a new relationship. Faculty members, service personnel, the administration and other students all are potential sources of support and guidance. Make the first step and you might be surprised how quickly people will step right back.
4. SAFETY. When leaving campus, make an effort to go in a group and during reasonable hours. No walking by yourself late at night. If you need to travel after dark – call security. They will be more than happy to accommodate you. If you see something or someone that doesn’t seem right to you – tell someone immediately. Better safe than sorry.
5. TOLERANCE & ACCEPTANCE. Hold true to your values and beliefs that you were raised with. Remember that you will be surrounded by an eclectic mix of ethnicity, gender identity and religions. Keep an open heart and an open mind. Show and give the same respect you would like to be treated with.
6. FAMILY. Whether your school is 10 miles away or 10,000 miles away, make sure to stay in close touch with your family via phone, email and social networking. They will be missing you and worried about you. They also have what your new friends don’t – unconditional love and support. So call your mother already!
7. ASKING FOR HELP. Easy to say, harder to do. A real sign of strength and emotional maturity is knowing when to ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence while the problem gets worse and snowballs out of control. Remember to give help to others when asked for it – the world is round.
8. VISUALIZE. Close your eyes. See yourself after your first year of school. See the GPA you want to have. See your new friends. See yourself happy, healthy and becoming the best person you want to be. Be specific. What you think about you bring about. Do it often enough and you’ll be amazed at what happens.
9. GROUP STUDY. With just 2 or 3 of your fellow classmates you can get a lot accomplished and gain insight from one another. Get some food, sit around a table and watch what happens. Invite older students who have taken the class previously and gain from their insight and experience.
10. TAKE RISKS. This is the best time to take a leap of faith in every aspect of your personal and academic life. Join a student group in support of something that interests you. Take that class that seems a little too challenging and watch yourself rise to the occasion. Introduce yourself to someone that seems out of your league. Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Marina del Rey
West Los Angeles