My name is Katie, and I am going into my Junior year of college. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by! I realize everyone says that, and it sounds kinda cliché. But it really has gone by in what feels like the blink of an eye!
Now, when I was a first year student getting ready to start my education at Penn State Berks I was definitely feeling overwhelmed. I had just graduated from high school and was starting to get really excited, (but also nervous) for school to start. Here are a few of the things that were running through my head that whole summer beforehand:
- Oh my gosh…this means I’m out of High School.
- Does this mean I need one of those internship thingies?
- I’m almost in the real world.
- What if I oversleep? Maybe mom can call me just to check…
- Crap, I have to be to class on time…
- At least there is a mall nearby, right?
- Now I definitely need to do my homework.
- There might be a Charming Charlie nearby…that would be fantastic.
- What if I have trouble making friends?
- I googled it… there is definitely a Charming Charlie nearby. SCORE.
- This really IS the next chapter of the rest of my life.
- OH MY GOSH PENN STATE.
So as you can tell, my mind was definitely on overload, as I tried to prepare myself for the next level of my academic career. I created list after list after list outlining what I would pack for my dorm, study schedules to follow to make sure my homework would get done and the list of classes I had written and rewritten countless times in every notebook I owned. I went the whole nine yards and back.
But you know what I learned?
There was no way I was going to be able to prepare myself for the fantastic, (let me emphasize FANTASTIC) years to come, each one dripping with incredible opportunities, awesome people, supportive faculty, and a plethora of events and activities to be a part of.
So, using my experiences, here is a list of “Katie’s Tips for Transitioning!” to help you prepare yourself for college.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I’m going to sound like a mom, so forgive me. But I’m being 100% serious, and as 20-year-old-not-mom’ish as possible. This was one of the biggest changes from high school to college. If you do not do your homework, your teachers aren’t going to treat it like in high school. Take responsibility for your school work. Even if you hate doing homework and never did it in high school, think about it: Your degree is one of the biggest factors in getting you hired. To complete your degree, you pass your classes. And what is the one way you pass your classes? You do your homework and get good grades on them. So why skip doing what will help get you money? AND! You are going to really hate me for saying this. Do optional work. And, get this: optional work not for extra credit. This sounds like crazy talk, right? But do any work: required, optional, extra credit, or for a pat on the back. Because no matter if you are given class credit, or extra credit, you will receive knowledge credit. Doing this extra work will help you understand all of the information, and the more you understand the information, the more knowledgeable you will be. That is going to take you miles in your future career… whether you think it will or not!
2. Take the time to reflect on yourself and know yourself. This is a really important one. If you know you do your best studying and homework in the morning, let’s not make the decision to stay up until 2:00 am watching YouTube videos, as funny as they might be. Along with that, you must know yourself so that you can remain true to yourself. Believe me, I realize how deep and mushy gushy this sounds. But think about it. Everyone has heard that college tends to be a time to “redefine” yourself. But, make sure that you aren’t letting others dictate to you, what you redefine yourself to be. That is something only you decide on.
3. Ignore the college stigma. You don’t HAVE to party, and you don’t HAVE to drink, just because you are in college. Please don’t forget, for your sake, that Penn State Berks is a dry campus. You can’t drink on campus at all, even if you are twenty-one. And even if you are off campus and get caught, you still can get in trouble on campus. No matter if you are on campus or off campus, you represent Penn State, so you can still get into trouble. People think that college is the “last hoorah” before the real world, so live it up! FALSE. Remember #1? Good Grades = Passed Classes = Degree = Higher possibility for good money. Why waste time on drinking expensive liquids that can allow for bad decision making and blacking out? Don’t forget that some majors will not accept students if there is any trace of judicial “issues”. There have been juniors that have to switch to a new major and it costs them at least an extra year to catch up. Education majors, don’t even go near alcohol, please. It’s just a bad idea.
4. Take advantage of all of the countless opportunities on campus. Go to activities and events on campus. Talk to faculty members and network. Try to meet as many people as possible. Accept the free food and free stuff!!!! There have been so many, actually, countless times, that students have taken advantage of an opportunity only Berks was able to provide. I could talk to you about two friends of mine that met at orientation during our First Year Seminar class breakout, and got engaged only months ago. Or the student that was offered the opportunity to be a Summer Research Assistant for a professor he had taken classes for. I could tell you about the opportunity I had to intern with the Career Services office as a Social Media Intern, because of my interest in Student Affairs Graduate programs. You could even look in my closet and see all of my free shirts from various club events and activities!
So my final tip to you, enjoy your time as a Penn State Student. The name itself carries incredible honor, and the fun you will have along the way will simply add to it.
I hope you had a fantastic summer and are getting so excited! I’m excited to meet you all! Try to make the most out of your last weeks before college begins. If you have any questions I can help with, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater. WE ARE!