Embark on your college life successfully

With the start of New Academic Season, it’s time of the year where large gatherings of Students and Parents are seen in 1st Year Inauguration events at colleges these days. Students with excitement about college life, Parents with high hopes for their children, Academicians awaiting to start their journey with new batch of students are flocking around.


Students and parents arriving at the architecturally built entrance gates of institutions with beds, pillows and blankets roped above their vehicles is a common sight. For many, College may be the first time they live out of parent’s house. Starting a new life in College campus can be exciting and intimidating. However, it’s important to know that life in college is going to be completely different than school.

Embarking on a new journey of higher education needs one to get ready with all the appropriate knowledge of college life. Here are some tips.

1. Take good care of yourself

Freedom is what you get first while moving from school to college. Be informed that with freedom also comes responsibility. Taking good care of yourself in terms of appropriate learning, healthy eating and sleeping habits are critical during college life.

Feeling homesick or academic work load or bullying classmates might drain all your energy and enthusiasm. The best thing to do is take care of yourself both physically and mentally. You should learn to comfortably manage your assignments, workload and deadlines. Learn not to make choices that you’ll later regret.

2. Don’t miss your classes

In college the subjects are going to be at a higher level than school and are presented much faster. It might be frustrating to cope up with the teaching at least for initial few days. However, understand that you are not alone and everyone else are in the same boat. Start listening attentively, embrace your subjects.

Moving from annual exam pattern to semester wise exams system could give you additional stress. Prepare yourself gradually to adjust to the new academic requirements. Learn the art of note taking, recording class room lectures, inculcate peer learning and self-learning habits.

3. Build subject matter expertise

One of the critical problems today in the country is employ-ability of fresh graduates. Most of them are unemployed or underemployed. Lack of domain knowledge and practical learning in colleges seems to be the main reason. Graduate students don’t really deep dive into their learning process.

Rigorous study and understanding is the heart of better learning process. Even students from native medium backgrounds with limited English proficiency exceeds expectations with deeper learning environments. True domain expertise is developing knowledge, skills and competencies that enable you to be ready for workplace. Focus in building expertise, graduate out as an expert rather than just coming with a degree in hand.

4. Build Information Technology and Computer skills

With rapid advancements in technology, it’s essential to build IT and Computer skills irrespective of what degree you study in college. Computers are becoming more relevant in all spheres of our life. Obviously it makes sense that being able to program computers is an important skills.

We are all living a digital life. Larger number of new age Entrepreneurs are only building technology based startups that’s purely based on Computers, Mobile devices and Information Technology. Use your college life to quickly pick up relevant computer skills.

5. Build Confidence and Communication skills

Communication being more pervasive than ever in the world today, it’s important for any graduate student to learn to effectively communicate. Learning to express clearly and confidently helps in convincing people, building consensus, resolve conflicts and getting things done. By being able communicate fluently you can also build confidence, that gives you advantage in your life and career.

6. Learn to transition from School to College

 Transition from school is often full of anxiety and surprises as we don’t prepare our children for institutes of higher education. There are numerous big and small changes that students have to adopt during their transition from school to college.

Teachers and parents were primarily responsible for your education and learning in school, whereas you are the sole responsible for your education in college. Teaching and learning methods are different. Academic requirements are different. Expectations from parents have increased while there is a reduction in support from them. You are often seen and treated as a grownup adult not a school going young kid.

7. Manage Adolescence and Distractions

 With all hormonal changes, this is the age when all your stress, sex and growth hormones starts working hard. These abysmal hormonal changes can lead to extreme behaviours, habits and actions. As the mental and emotional development are still happening in adolescent kids, it’s important to ensure that you understand what’s good and bad, what’s right and wrong. At times aggressive impulses and your friends could greatly influence you in many ways.

This is the age of distractions and it’s also crucial time for learning to focus. Laptops and smart devices that offer great possibilities of deeper learning, are also huge distraction for young students. Most young folks ends up using social media, playing games, browsing internet, etc for hours together without much of purpose. Managing distractions is nothing by being able to manage where your mind wanders. Managing your temptations could also help you in managing your distractions. Always keep asking yourself, “what’s my most important purpose in college?”, “why am I here in this campus?”.

8. Think about your Life, Career and Dreams

Unlike school, college education is not something to study, learn, write exams and get excited with the marks you score. College education is for life and not only for scoring marks. Unfortunately most young students see college life as an extended school life, without thinking much about Life, Career and their future. Not knowing what to do with your life isn’t wrong, but not even attempting to find that is worrying.

Start thinking and asking yourself, “what should I do with my life?”, “what’s my life purpose?”. Keep trying many things in college, understand what you love, what you hate, what you are really good at, what you can make as your career. Don’t really worry about not knowing what to do in life right now. Keep trying and keep asking yourself “where am I going?”.

College life is really one of the most fun filled places where you get to meet new people, make friends, learn about yourself, think about future, build your knowledge, get ready for work and prepare for your career and life. Embark this journey with lots for energy, enthusiasm and take charge of your college life.

Sivakumar Palaniappan is a Professional Speaker, Author, Corporate Trainer and Career Coach. He is passionate about Nation Building through Youth Development, speaks and writes for/about young minds. More about him at www.sivakumarpalaniappan.com

About Sivakumar Palaniappan