When you are a student in the northern hemisphere, years run differently. 🙂
According to the number of credits I have completed, I am now a sophomore in college. I have to say that it feels a bit weird to say that. Weirder than when I said I was a freshman. Maybe some latent part of my mind didn’t think I’d make it this far. Stupid latent part. 😉
If I wanted a long title for this article I suppose it would run like this, “10 Tips for the Single Middle-Aged College Freshman Mom who also Happens to have PTSD.” But I don’t want to write that because I’d have to try to figure which words should or shouldn’t be capitalized in a title and would end up getting drawn into a question of whom was it who decided which words should be capitalized in a title and which shouldn’t.
Here are a few of the things I learned this year that help me in school
- Make friends at school. It doesn’t matter that they are young enough to be your children, make friends with them and exchange numbers so you can study together. Besides, having friends in your classes makes you want to go to class even if you actually don’t want to.
- Learn from younger people. Seriously, if you can’t, don’t go back to school. Instead, hang out in the break room of your dead-end job and talk smack about the younger employees. Living longer doesn’t mean there aren’t things younger people can teach you.
- DON’T DO YOUR HOMEWORK WITH YOUR KIDS. This is a mistake a lot of moms make at the beginning. Do your homework at the library, or, if you can afford it, Starbucks. In fact, let Starbucks be a treat for you. You can get a cup of tea for about $2 and sit at one of their inside table for the rest of the day. It is worth the two dollars, trust me.
- If your school has one, use the tutor center for every single class. Find out where it is, what times it’s open, how to register for appointments. Make the tutors at the center your friends.
- Use all other available helps your school has to offer. My school has Supplemental Instruction and I use every SI I have for every class.
- If you are in a situation where you can, get a job on campus, preferably within your major or at least something you know will look good on your transcript. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but don’t pass the opportunity up if it comes along and you can avail yourself of it.
- Get to know your professors. Most professors teach because they want to pass along their knowledge and want to see their students succeed. Get to know them. Forget all the BS you remember from high school about brown nosers and talk with your professors.
- Make use of your professor’s office hours. Many don’t have them because being an adjunct doesn’t afford you an office, but many adjuncts will hold office hours between classes, if they have time and are in the same room. Or they will make use of the adjunct’s office.
- You are not 20. Don’t assume you’ll be able to pull an all-nighter, let alone three in a row. Yeah, that was one of the worst weeks ever.
- Apply for FAFSA. You might not think you qualify, but you might at least qualify for a little bit, and every little bit helps. In fact, find out about any sort of financial help you can, such as scholarships and other types of grants that are available.
- Learn to take notes. Don’t assume you’ll recall everything your teacher said. You won’t. If you take notes you’ll be ahead of half the people in your class, regardless their age.
- DO NOT PUT OFF HOMEWORK. (Ironically written at this moment.) It doesn’t matter what you think is more important, nothing is more important than your homework. Not only because it’s part of your grade, but homework is generally the path to getting good grades on tests, which is usually a larger part of your grade.
- Last but not least, take care of yourself. I didn’t learn this until very late but it has been working wonders. I’m talking about that self-care business that most moms feel guilty about, you know, making sure you are taken care of, have enough sleep, food, etc. Since I started, though, I’ve become far more attentive to my kids’ needs…maybe because I have the energy now. Don’t let it slack, trust me.
There are probably more things I could think up. If you want to read a longer list, I recommend this post at College Info Geek. Actually, I recommend pretty much everything at College Info Geek. He pretty much got me through my first year.
I found CIG when I panicked after realizing that I had no idea how to take notes and googled it. 🙂