It seemed like just yesterday I was moving down to Indiana State University as a Young Man eager to get my College Life started. I was so excited about the opportunity to start a new chapter in my life. I’ll be honest; I never thought I would attend college after that first rejection letter came. God still made a way for me and I promised to him and to myself, I wouldn’t take my opportunity for Granted. A young man who people didn’t even think would make it through his first semester in college, cranked out 7 years, working his way to a Bachelors and Master’s degree in that time period. There are things which I knew and things even until this day I wish I would have known when it came to attending college. One thing is for sure, if you want that degree bad enough, you’re not going to let anything or anyone stop, take you down, or get in your way from becoming a College Graduate.
There are things that I tell my classes that a teach to now of young, eager minds like I use to be which I try to help them receive early so that they won’t miss out on some of the great things that I did when I was in college. I try to look back on my experience and I say “I wish someone would have TOLD ME THESE THINGS in the beginning and maybe things would have been a bit smoother for me.” Here are 3 Tips for College that if you understand these things EARLY, they may help you become very successful in your College Career and make the journey a bit easier for you:
1. COLLEGE IS NOT HARD, IT’S A LOT OF WORK: We as African Americans tend to struggle in certain subjects. What we have to learn entering college is two-fold: not matter what you did in HS, HIGH SCHOOL IS OVER & find a way to make College your HUSTLE! We naturally as African Americans know how to work very hard. Take that Hustle Mindset and put that towards your studies. Crank out that homework, study hard for your test, make your College Work YOUR GRIND!
2. DO NOT MAKE SALLIE MAE & STUDENT LOANS YOUR FRIEND: The best thing to do when you first go to college is set your Academic Foundation EARLY! You need to put yourself in a position to get a 3.0 or above in your very first semester. This will set a Solid GPA Foundation for you so if you have a bad semester down the line, you may fall, but not by much. Remember, it’s easier to maintain a GPA, than trying to raise one. Once you get your GPA Foundation, stay in your Financial Aid Office and even check with the School that your major is in for Scholarships and Grants. Try to keep taking out those Student Loans to a MINIMUM! You don’t want to be 40 years old paying on a College Degree! Also, learn how to PUT MONEY AWAY! It’s a lot easier to save in college if you take some of your scholarship, grants, and even loan money and put some away for hard times and rainy days either in a Roth IRA, Interest Growing Savings Account, or Stocks.
3. LEARN HOW TO CONNECT & NETWORK WITH OTHERS: One of the greatest things about college is all the people that you will meet from all over the country and from all over the world. Whether in study groups, classes, or campus organizations, never be afraid to check events out and meet new people. You have to realize, only 20% of your true learning in college actually happens in the classrooms. You learn so much about other cultures, organizations, and people from attending college events, talking with others, and being open to seeing and trying new experiences. Getting your college degree can be a dream come true for you once you work hard, believe in yourself, and put your PASSION INTO ACTION!