Managing 4 of the most common back to school issues.
No matter where you are on your college journey, the start of the fall semester is a busy time. Some of you are celebrating a return to freedom after a summer bid at home with your parents (just know they are just as ready for you to leave), others taking a deep breath before they start college for the first time, and then you have the seniors exhaling because it’s their last time enjoying fall on campus. One common theme in starting a new school year is the unexpected. And today I want to deal with a few of he most common issues faced and how avoid drama in the future.
Class is FULL!!
“What!? You have got to be kidding me, I can’t believe that my class is full, I need this class to graduate or stay on my degree plan.”
Calm down, your procrastination may not doom you this time. First look and see if the class is offered at a different time or with a different prof. If that fails, pay a visit to your favorite advisor, in person. Have your story ready because they’ll want to know what took you so long to sign up. With some luck your problem is solved here.
For those still facing closed doors it’s time to go straight to the prof, it never hurts to ask (unless your school policy prohibits it). If the prof is feeling generous you’re set. If the final answer is no and the class is not urgent, use the opportunity to take an elective or double dip in you major/minor reqs – always find the silver lining. In the future, plan ahead of time and sign up for the popular classes first. It’s best to have at least two versions of your schedule prepared in case a class fills before you get to it.
LAST YEAR WASN’T SO GREAT, do I belong here?
First, breathe! It’s okay, we all make mistakes. Heck I had a 1.5 semester and if I can overcome that, you can overcome anything! Mistakes will make reaching your goals more challenging but not impossible. Take the first few days before classes start and evaluate where you got off track, then WRITE DOWN SEMESTER GOALS FOR:
- Amount of time you will spend studying
- Amount of time you will spend meeting with prof’s in difficult classes
- How you will celebrate once you meet your goals
Next, post these goals in a place where you can see them everyday. It is also a good practice to share your goals with a mentor or peer you feel will hold you accountable to the goals you set. Having an accountability partner was my greatest asset in college and has helped my tremendously in life. In the future, remember that you are a student first, the main goal for attending college is to graduate!! Everything should be planned around your academic focus, not the other way around.
MY ROOMMATE SUCKS!!
I think most students have had an “issue” with their roommate at one point or another. It’s bound to happen so don’t fight it. How you deal with the “issue” should be your focus. Before you go to your RA and demand a trade, try actually speaking to your roommate. Whatever the issue is, it can normally be resolved in a win/win situation that requires minimal compromise from both parties involved.
Sleeping habits, boo-thangs (aka significant others), food, and privacy are the most fussed about issues amongst roommates. Taking the time to actually discuss and fill out the Roommate Contract that most Residence Halls give students will save you time, headaches, and walking in on your roommate playing world of war craft in full armor. Set guidelines early and review them as often as needed, especially when there is change of life status; i.e. Getting boo’d up, joining a fraternity/sorority, starting a job, etc.
In the future, don’t be quick to room with your best friend and don’t leave your living arrangements up to chance either. If you can, try to room with someone who has a similar major, social life, or study habits.
I JUST MISS MY MOMMY … I’m mean I just missed my KNEE
Being homesick happens, stop fronting and embrace it. Call your parents and let them know you miss them; they might drop a few dollars in your account.
*Note to readers: please do not manipulate your parents love for a few dollars in your account. If you are broke get a job!!*
Whether you are a freshman or a 6th year senior, missing your parents is a natural and healthy emotion. Don’t tell anyone, but I would shed a few tears every time I left to go back to school, me and my family were just like that. It is important to deal with your emotions in a positive and effective way. Joining an organization, participating in study groups, and organizing a pot luck, are great ways to get a sense of family and community on your campus.
In the future it’s good to plan your trips home for the semester. Not too often but once or twice is just right. This way you know when you will see them. It’s all mental and this trick works every time! Also, get your parents to make your favorite meal and then freeze it. When you are really missing home, thaw it out and eat it in front of your roommate. It won’t be exactly the same but it will give you a quick fix until your next visit home.
Chris Collins is the CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, InC., an organization focused on encouraging and developing student leadership. Chris is a speaker, author, and entrepreneur inspiring students across the country. Chris has excelled in several levels of student leadership highlighted by his roles as Chapter President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a Resident Assistant, NPHC President, and counselor for TRiO/Upward Bound. He intertwines his life lessons with his passion for achieving greatness into an energy that provides real talk about real issues to reach real solutions; teaching those he reaches the tools to live a life filled with real passion. His passion for encouraging, empowering, and educating young people forces him to stay on his grind to develop the most relevant and impactful programs in today's urban culture.