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Surviving Your First Year of College Classes

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Abby Wilson

PHHS ‘19, Muhlenberg College ‘23

When I entered college, I was scared of not only meeting new people and being away from home, but also taking on the new academic workload. I knew that college classes would be harder than high school classes, but I did not understand why until I was a few weeks into my courses. I am on the pre-med track, so my first semester consisted of chemistry, biology, calculus, and a freshman writing class. It was very challenging to jump into college with such a heavy workload, but I am writing today to give you tips on how you can handle this- you can do it!

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you is to use all of the resources available to you. It is different at each school, but I had student-led workshops twice a week where we did practice problems for my science and math classes and those helped me greatly. My school also provides free tutoring to anyone who wants it, so if your school does something like that I would go for it! I would also recommend going to office hours, as even though some concepts may be confusing in a large lecture, your professors may be able to explain things more in depth in a smaller setting. Don’t ever be embarrassed to ask for help because college classes are hard and your professors know that you want to succeed.

Be ready to put in a lot of hard work. College classes usually have fewer small assignments, but there are papers and exams that you will have to spend more time studying for than in high school (no more cramming for exams the night before!). Once you start meeting people in your classes, it can be helpful to study with your classmates, as this will make studying more fun and you can learn from each other. From my experience in science classes, the exams ask you to not only know the information but also to apply it in different ways, and this can be challenging at first. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed in the beginning. It is normal not to do well on your first round of exams because you will likely need to change your study habits in order to be able to answer these types of questions. Like I said before, asking for help is always a good idea!

If you put in hard work, ask for help when needed, and stay on top of your assignments, you can succeed in your college classes. And don’t forget to have some fun along the way! :)

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