By Sarah Ta
My first semester at USC was a complete roller coaster. There were a lot of ups and downs, but through that crazy adventure, I learned a lot of life lessons. I’m sure I will learn more as I continue to study here at USC, but as of right now, here are the five most important lessons I learned during the first four months of my college career.
Go to USC events.
In high school, it was uncool to go to events planned by the school, but it’s different in college. For one, you’re actually paying to attend college, while public high school has free tuition. USC has different programs such as Visions and Voices, Cardinal and Gold, and Late Night ‘SC that offer free events. Visions and Voices focuses on enriching the student experience with art and performances from renowned artists. Cardinal and Gold offer trips (that are paid for!) to explore LA and get to know more about the culture. Late Night ‘SC usually offer events on Friday nights as an alternative to going out to parties. So next time you see a flyer for a USC event, don’t hesitate to invite a few friends to RSVP with you. There’s really no reason for you not to go, so take that time to relax and hang out with some friends!
Make a strict homework schedule and stick to it.
There will be times where you will not want to do homework, and if you’re anything like me, that time will probably come around the second week of school. If you already have a good schedule, great! Stick to that and make sure to not give in to the temptations of watching baby animal videos on YouTube. If you haven’t already, make a schedule ASAP! I made the mistake of thinking I didn’t need a schedule, but if you’re not great at motivating yourself to do work (like me), then it might be a good idea to set aside certain hours to just focus on doing homework.
Don’t skip meals, but don’t overeat either.
Every talk you’ve ever heard about the Freshman 15 is real. This is especially true at USC because of the unlimited meal plan all freshmen are required to have. Not only do we have unlimited swipes, all the dining halls are served buffet style, which makes it easy to overeat. With so many choices, my friends and I would usually end up eating several plates of food, only to regret it later. I also skipped a lot of meals in order to finish up assignments (which is not something I recommend), so my eating schedule was all over the place. Long story short, skipping meals and then overeating later is extremely unhealthy, so try to make time for three balanced meals throughout the day. Your body will thank you.
Whatever you do, don’t wait till the last minute.
The first semester of college is an exciting time of your life, and it’s easy to place priority on other things besides schoolwork. I mean, no one actually wants to do homework on a Friday night. However, if you have paper due Sunday night, don’t think that it’ll be a good idea to do it Sunday after a weekend of hanging out with friends. You will be exhausted and while you might be able to turn it in on time, it will probably be something that you are not proud of. Doing things last minute can quickly become a habit, and when you end up having multiple assignments due on the same night, trying to finish all of them will be a nightmare. So, save yourself the pain and start on your assignments earlier.
Get into a habit of making your bed.
This last piece of advice might be the strangest and the simplest one, but it’s a good habit to get into. Making your bed only takes about two minutes in the morning, but it plays such a huge role in how your room looks and feels. The bed is the largest piece of furniture in the room, so making your bed can immediately “clean up” a large part of your room. Even if the rest of your room is a little messy, the mess will seem less overwhelming thanks to your bed. There’s also just something really comforting about crawling into a neatly made bed at the end of the day. Do your future-self a favor and make your bed in the morning.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Transitioning into college can be a complicated process, but take your time and go with the flow. I wish you the best of luck with your college career, and may your roller coaster have more ups than downs.
Featured image from USC Libraries Website
Sarah is an undergraduate student from the San Gabriel Valley studying GeoDesign. In her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring L.A., trying new foods, and of course, meeting new people. She can speak conversational Cantonese, and is currently learning Mandarin. Even though her Chinese is limited, that doesn’t stop her from striking up a conversation with other international students.