Welcome to another year of college. Some students are new, and others know Starkville better than their hometown. Unfortunately, many find college completely overwhelming at the beginning of the semester. Figuring out class locations, navigating campus and working out the best path can be difficult. Add several thousand walking peers, and it turns into a chaotic mess.
The beginning of the semester hustle can cause anxiety and the irrational fear of being trampled by one’s peers. Everyone eventually grows into this lifestyle, but some face needless obstacles while finding their college “groove.” Fortunately, there are ways to bypass these common issues. The college environment holds traps and pitfalls many fall victim to. Your job is to recognize them and make them less of an ordeal. Here are the best tips to put the chaotic college days behind you, and how to you can make the most efficient and effective choices in your daily life on campus.
Avoid the hourly rush like the plague. Classes end all over campus in intervals, but you can save time by being smarter. Trying to go to The Perry after class or The Fresh at 7 p.m. is asking for long lines and colder food. Your best bet is to eat breakfast before 8 a.m., grab lunch between 10:30 a.m. and noon and go to Fresh at 5 p.m. when they open for dinner. The food will be better, the lines will be shorter and you can sit wherever you want. For those who exchange their block meals at campus fast food places, try to not go exactly at 4:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. Waiting an extra half hour avoids the line, and the food is hotter because of the previous rush.
Like all animals, we also tend to relieve ourselves after eating. If you live off-campus, your personal bathroom will be far less stressful. Finding a bathroom on campus is not difficult, but finding a less trafficked one is. The simple solution will always be stairs. A bulk of your peers never change their level, so less crowded bathrooms are on different floors. Timing is also key because waves occur that follow class schedules. Trekking up stairs when you “gotta go” is not ideal, but extra privacy is usually worth the effort.
Consistency is key when it comes to classwork. You want to develop a habitual pattern from the get-go, so I recommend getting a planner by the first week of classes. Checking off daily tasks and activities in a notebook can be helpful. It also tends to work better than going by the hour. Life does not follow design, so try not to schedule everything down to the minute. It can only take one rainy day to throw you off.
Jashawn Baxter, a senior mechanical engineering major, emphasized focusing right from the start.
“Don’t fall behind the first few weeks,” Baxter said. “Some classes are easy, but don’t get lazy and slack off. Everything becomes real after week three.”
Getting back into the habit of studying also tends to suck. College is a job, not a vacation from your parents. There is no way of avoiding how mind-numbingly dull the act of staying sharp can be. Most students ride the curve, doing the bare minimum to pass their classes. This approach tends to leave them irritated because they forgot career basics. Treat each day like a mandatory shift and your results will go through the roof. Yeah, working on the weekend is miserable, but you will not mind when you have an A in every class.
Katelyn Mathis, a junior psychology major, gave crucial advice for all students.
“College really depends on the amount of effort you are willing to give. You have to work if you want to get anything out of your time,” Mathis said.
Her stance focused on persistence, as opposed to the advice given by Kieron Mays, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering.
“Take breaks. Learn how to manage your time and when to get everything done,” Mays said.
Enjoy your time navigating campus as an MSU student. College is an excellent slice of your life, but remember you are living in a bubble. Be mindful of some events that offer free food, get off campus every now and then and try not to party too hard.
With intentional scheduling and navigation, this campus is both a resource and a playground. These years will shape you into your future self, so use them wisely and take advantage of every opportunity.