It's June once again and it's a brand new school year for you and me. Right now, I'm a sophomore in college so I was given the chance to experience how it is to be in a university for at least a year already. I remember the time when I first entered my new school. I had mixed emotions, (happy, excited, scared, uneasy, nervous...all of these and more) since it was all so different. With a heart-rate that's higher than the usual and clothes that screamed 'this is me' I entered my classroom with a hopeful heart that I'll be able to survive 4 years in this college. Well if you ask me now, I'm glad to say that I did survive (and was able to maintain my scholarship and be part of the Dean's Lister throughout the year) while trying to adjust to the new environment around me. So what did I pick up from the past school year? Here are the 7 things that I learned as a freshman in college.
 Read more to find out what they are :)  

1.) Time should be used wisely and productively
With the schedule that you'll be having, it's not like high school where in you'll have the whole day to study and just have recess and lunch as your breaks (well if you're lucky to have this schedule then congratulations but if on). In college, you will have your own time. This means that there will be semesters where in you have long breaks that, may at first, seem fun because you get to hang with your friends, tell them about this guy or girl that you've been eyeing, or try the restaurants around your school but a few months into the course, you get impatient because you'll be waiting for a long time and personally, I think it's a normal thing for everyone to dislike waiting. With that, I suggest that in your long breaks, use these open slots for productivity. I know this is cliché, but.. really use your time wisely. Do your readings for the week. Research on that project that you'll have soon. Do everything ahead so that you won't be cramming like crazy when it's a day before the deadline. Be the type of person who doesn't have idle time. Balance everything well, fill it with work and push yourself to finish everything that you have to finish (prayers help as well!).

2.) It's time to get out of that 'bubble' you've always been in
In simple words...Get out of your comfort zone. Do you have that certain 'something' where in you were always interested in, or fascinated with, but never actually had the chance to do it? (Like cooking, fencing, speaking in front of a crowd, convincing people to buy something, designing, and so much more) Well, let me tell you that this is the perfect time for that. 
When I was in freshman year, I did things that weren't in my plan. I joined a speaking contest, a marketing org, I started acting (for work, this is not part of school though)... I just did things I never had the chance to, and you know what? I don't regret any of them. At all. In fact I was very grateful for them because after accomplishing something that I've never even imagined doing, there's a sense of fulfilment that you get from the experience. These things are those that you don't get inside a classroom, when you are following your boring old routine and are limited to the things that you usually do in life. There are so much clubs, organizations, and groups that need your talent, YOUR help. With this, you not only find your passion in life, but you get to share that with different people who love the same thing as you do and it's a start of a good friendship, for sure. 

3.) Time Management is a skill that you should perfect
Just like the picture above... A 'to-do-list' is a NECESSITY. It's what's going to help you manage your time wisely in college. If you are like me, and you tend to forget easily, it's always very helpful to write the things that you're supposed to accomplish by the end of the day in a post-it, (or even in your wrist sometimes? haha) because this will help you prioritise your work. It'll make you systematic, and will drive you to work as soon as you get home because you'll want to cross out or check those things in your list. Keep in mind that there is always a time for everything, so don't panic and just relax. I'm telling you, if you get to finish all of them, you'll feel great, ready and very prepared for the next few days ahead of you!  

4.) Listening while taking down notes is a must 
One thing (out the many things) that I miss in high school is the pacing. College is very fast-paced. This means that your profs won't wait for you to copy the important parts of the topic. You'll have to really write fast, get the key points of the statement and most of the time... multi-task. You have to be able to master the art of listening while writing down the things that you should remember for the subject (for the purpose of those surprise quizzes that we all dread) Although, in most subjects, laptops and iPads are allowed for note-taking, but I suggest that you use the traditional 'pen and paper' method because it still proves to be very helpful in recalling your notes. Actually, whichever way works for you best, use it.

5.) Everyday is a chance to learn something new
In my Theology class today, my professor mentioned something that struck me. He says to us 'Make sure that in every class that you take, you go out of the classroom with something to think about or to remember' and it's something that I agree with! We go to school for a reason. It's to make us think, to make us know a lot about something and a little about everything. It's to teach us lessons not for memorization purposes but for us to learn and apply it in our daily lives.
It's simple. Don't waste a day without learning something new, but don't leave it as that. 
There's a reason why we need to know about them. Act upon it, and practice it. 

6.) Being your weird, sometimes 'unusual self' is alright
I know what you're feeling. New school, new set of friends, new teachers... well, practically new everything! With this, it's so easy to pretend to be someone you're not. It's so easy to put on a mask so that you get more people to like you. But at the end of the day, you're exhausted, because when you get home, you think to yourself 'wait, am I really liked by the people around me for who I really am, or do they like the character that I play everyday?' Honestly, that's the most difficult thing to do. So, it's always best to just be true yourself and the right people will like you for who you are. If you're feeling lazy and just want to dress-down for the day, wear fake glasses, or dress-up, wear heels, color your hair, joke around, laugh out loud, release your inner 'swag' and more... well go! Just do it! You'll be surprised that the more real you are to yourself, the more people will find you cool, accept you, love you and even miss you when you're not around for your weird, unusual traits.

7.) The friends that you have are experiencing the same thing 
Don't think that you're alone in this 'big step in life' that you're in... because you're not. You, together with your whole batch is experiencing the same thing. No person in your batch has a step ahead of you. That's why it's good to have a friend, or a group that you can go to for support, because you really can't do things on your own. Isn't it fun when you can relate with each other? Usually, this is why you're friends with your friends. That's why it's always it's important to have a good relationship with them. Study with your block, share notes with your seat mate, spend time with your new friends and eat lunch with them because you'll constantly be in their company. Since my school is a small university, it's great that I get to have older friends, and younger friends whom I can ask guidance from and guide as well.  Share what you know and learn from others :)

8.) College should be taken seriously but at the same time fun!
Unlike high school, you have to take college seriously. Usually, you can't 'wing' a quiz or test unlike before because they'll really require you to think and to study. This is the last chance for you to make up for what you didn't do in high school. How you are in college will actually define how you are going to be after you graduate and work.  Also, if you have a goal, believe it, dream big and you're already one step to achieving it! Strive to have good habits and change your bad ones while you still can because habits turn into your character as a person. But, at the same time... Enjoy it! Work when you have to, do your best in all your written and oral outputs, rest when you get the chance, catch up with your friend once in a while, spend time with your family in the on a Saturday night as long as you're sure that you'll ace your test Monday morning! ;)

Four years may seem like a long time, but while you're in college.. everything will pass by so fast.
In just a blink of an eye, you're off to the real world where business suits are required, money is involved, and you're a legit 'adult' living independently. But for now, make sure that you do your best all the time, balance your life by managing your time wisely, be yourself, be eager to learn something everyday, be a multi-tasker, go out of your comfort zone, and just have fun! (clean fun please)
 Let's make those four years count, my friends! We can do this! :)