I’m a little over halfway through my first year at UCLA, and just a couple of weeks away from finishing Winter Quarter. Already, I can look back and see in what areas I’ve grown, especially academically. Incoming college freshmen are often told that the transition from high school to college is difficult, and I can honestly say that it’s true. I’d like to offer a few tips based off my personal experience that I think can help with the transition to college.
- Find a place to study that works for you. Last quarter, I struggled with finding a place to work efficiently. The study lounge on my floor was too distracting because it was always full of my floormates. When I would study in my bed, I would end up falling asleep. When I would go to the library, I would always just end up people watching. This quarter, a new study space opened up in one of the dorms. Although it’s located multiple flights of stairs away from my dorm, the trek is worth it because I’ve found out that when I really need to focus on homework, that’s the place where I work efficiently.
- Try to develop a consistent schedule. In high school, you attend school from 8AM to 3PM, maybe have sports practice after for a few hours, do some homework, sleep, then do it all over again for five days a week. In college, you have your set class schedule, but other than that, the rest of the time is free, no one’s telling you what to do. It’s up to you to block out time for homework, exercise, meals, socializing, and sleep. It takes trial and error but it can be done.
- Take others’ study advice with a grain of salt. If you are friends with second or third year students or classes with them, they may offer you study advice that you may be skeptical about. One tip of advice I heard a lot was “you don’t need to read the books, I never read and got an A in that class.” This is where it helps to know how you study. I know that if I don’t read the books and take a midterm for the class, it’s not gonna go well. I’m not good at winging exams. It can be kind of frustrating watching others get by while doing less work, but I know that their ways of studying doesn’t work for me.
- Don’t underestimate the power of naps. College is hard. The days are long. Don’t feel guilty about catching up on sleep; just don’t over do it. Make sure to set an alarm for your naps or else you may end up napping 8 hours and totally throwing off your sleep schedule (true story).
- Try to take classes you’re genuinely interested in, especially your first quarter. Here at UCLA, I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as an easy class, but there are really interesting classes. If you need to fulfill General Education requirements, make the best of it and don’t take a class just because it fulfills a requirement. Find the classes that interest you AND fulfill the requirement. It’ll make the learning experience a lot more enjoyable.
Diego is a graduate of John Muir High School. While a high school student, he was an active member in his school’s newspaper, where he was the editor in chief for the 2015-2016 school year. He also participated in competitive swimming for four years and was a student ambassador for the 2016 Tournament of Roses. Diego now attends UCLA where he swims on the club team, works as a lifeguard, and is interested in writing for the Daily Bruin. In his spare time, Diego enjoys kayaking, watching TV shows on Netflix, and listening to music.