Starting college can be an exciting and, at times, terrifying experience. Many students may not know what to expect. In the few years that I’ve attended WCC, I’ve learned a few things that I wish I knew from the start.
Go to class
This is probably the best advice I can give. Many students might skip a class or two and think it’s no big deal only to find out later that the missed material was a huge chunk of a test. Attendance is also a factor for many classes, and not showing up will affect your grade. I suggest checking your course syllabi to see how much of your grade will be affected.
No video games, no Snapchat and no artwork. Do your homework. Although some of us do have a life outside of college, if you can, just do one problem here, one there, and before you know it, you’re done.
Whenever you can, reuse information. I’ve used the same base material for English, political science and speech. As long as it’s your work and your research, it’s not cheating. It’s sharing what you know.
Get to know your instructors
Don’t be another forgettable face. Building a relationship with your professors is important. And do it early on. This may be a little harder at a university but here at WCC, it’s a little more manageable. Ask them questions about your assignments. Find out where you can improve.
According to WCC graduating senior Dani Springel, “One thing that helped me succeed was asking my professors for advice.”
If you’re interested in the field, ask them why they got into it. Find out what their office hours are and drop by.
Be nice to everyone
I can’t stress this enough. You never know when the most unlikely person could lend a hand. They could offer help with an assignment, life advice or even a new job. There’s also a chance that you may work with or for them one day.
According to WCC graduating senior Jessica Leong, “In your classes and small group discussions, don’t be afraid to relax and talk a little more.”
What do you enjoy doing? What’s important to you? Chances are there are others on campus who feel the same way. There may even be a club for it. If not, go start one. I was heavily into ceramics and sculpture, and to be honest, meeting others who enjoyed those activities was one of the main reasons I stayed in college.
I highly recommend the Palikū Arts Festival, which happens every April. WCC hosts many lectures and festivals, which can be great for networking and learning. Or you can even get a job on campus as a teacher’s assistant.
Don’t get overwhelmed
Don’t be in a hurry to get out of here. If you work two jobs, it’s probably not a good idea to take 20 credits.
Shop online for books
It may take longer to get them, but they are way cheaper. Some instructors may even post the first couple of chapters online just to help you out. Worst case, ask your instructor if they have an extra copy of the textbook that you can borrow or share one with a classmate.
Be smart about loans
If you don’t need the money, don’t take it. If you do, plan out how you’re going to pay for it before you accept it.
There’s also a ton of scholarships and grants out there. Do the research. You may be surprised what you qualify for. The financial aid office and TRiO are amazing at finding help.
Don’t wait until the end to take the “hard” classes
Don’t take all your electives in the beginning. Even if you’re just taking a few classes to get a feel for it all, balance out the hard with the chill. May I suggest an art class after math.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what major to pursue
Many of us are still trying to figure ourselves out, let alone a career. Get your core requirements out of the way first. Worry about what you want to do later.
Ask if you need help
WCC has many resources that can assist with anything you need. If you’re having trouble picking classes, go see your counselors. For help with assignments and studying, get a tutor.
The math, writing and speech labs are awesome. The best part is, they take walk-ins. TRiO really helped me survive math.
Remember self care
Don’t eat only ramen the night before an exam. It won’t help you. Also, humans need sleep. Don’t stay up all night cramming for a test. Get your rest, eat right, and remember to get your “me time.”
by Nathan Runion, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter