Five Tips for a Fearless Transition

25 Aug

You have arrived! Welcome to life after high school!

College is a huge concept with huge expectations and you may be feeling a little dizzy as you first step onto the U of A’s huge campus. Don’t be daunted, it’s now YOUR campus. You are surrounded by wonderful resources and friendly people who are always ready to help you out.

When I first saw my face on a CatCard, started feeling the burn as I made the long haul between Bio Sciences West and the Psychology building in ten minutes, or received my first tuition bill, my head very nearly exploded. There are a few different things that reshaped the way I think of my experience at the U of A, and I wanted to share five tips you can follow to keep intimidation at bay.

#1 Think of it as developing a skill set.

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When we choose a major, it can feel as if we’ve committed to a career path that is now set in stone. We should take the degree we pursue very seriously, but not so seriously that it leaves us shaking in our boots. To take some pressure off of yourself, just think of it as a set of skills you’ve chosen to develop so that you can demonstrate them out in the real world. Instead of trying to live up to your degree, make your education live up to you and your expectations.

#2 Make it about you.

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Despite how much we love our parents and want to make them proud, college is a time to follow what’s in your heart, it’s a phase in life where it’s all about you and it’s completely appropriate to self-advocate. Customize your experience! Make sure you make your life at the university fits your interests, and don’t be afraid to explore and expand those interests. If you’re interested in it, the U of A more than likely has a club, organization, or event about that interest. Check out the U of A’s  “getting involved” page to learn more about what’s available. Branch out and mingle and you’ll see yourself transforming from the person you were into the person you’re going to be.

3# Get organized!

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The procrastination that worked so well in high school can snowball into an unmanageable avalanche in college if you don’t have the right structure in place. Block out time in your week for homework and free time, and commit to your plan. A little discipline, a planner, a smartphone calendar or even some clever use of your Google calendar can turn your semester from pure chaos to simplicity that you can anticipate.

#4 Make a budget you can stick to.

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That first financial aid disbursement check can put a smile on your face and burn a hole in your pocket. Wherever your income comes from, it’s important to keep track of it so you don’t end up without food and laundry money by the end of the semester. Take a few minutes to find out how much money you bring in and how much you pay out each month so that you can see how much you have to spend. If you find yourself with more free time and less cash flow, check out Career Services to brush up your resume. With an inexpensive subscription to Joblink you can find jobs with flexible hours on campus that give you amazing hands-on experience within your field of study.

#5 Lean on us!

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If you find yourself getting lost, confused, or out-of-sorts, reach out and connect to the resources all around you. Your tuition is not just for your classes – it affords you access to free advice from resources that can be rare and expensive outside of educational institutions. For maps, directories, news and more, check out the University of Arizona app for your smartphone. For academic help, your professors have office hours, email addresses, and even phone numbers that you can use to get that extra one-on-one time. If you have trouble syncing your schedule with their hours, you can always come to one of the ThinkTank locations on campus and get help on a walk-in basis. You are also always welcome to come talk to one of our Peer Mentors at ASA any time. We’re ready to support you in anything from your academic success to your social concerns, whether you need some questions answered or just need a human being to talk to. Life happens, and we’ll be here for you when it does!

-Amanda

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