If you’ve been a fan of our blog posts, wait until you see what we have for you in 2019! Starting this holiday season, Sydney Scott, a freshman at Southeastern Louisiana University, will be blogging about her life and times as a college student. See college life through Sydney’s eyes and learn with her as she journeys to her future career. And make sure you share with your aspiring AND current college students - they’ll be happy that you did! Without further ado… here’s Sydney!

On my first day of class this semester, my Management 101 professor said these words to us: “I don’t know why they keep calling this class ‘Management 101’. This is You 101’.” And so it was.

This particular instructor had a personality right out of the movie Dead Poet’s Society -- in fact, he played the final scene from that movie on our last day of class. What made the class so special was his earnest desire for us to be passionate. He was less concerned with content, and more concerned with instilling in us a desire to always seek betterment.

After a semester of note-taking in this class, I left with a spiral notebook with words that looked not so different than those that would come from a self-help book. But what’s more, I left the semester with so many new, unexpected life lessons, some which were taught to me, and some which I had to discover for myself. I took the semester’s worth of notes, and distilled them into a dozen pieces of advice that I hope can help you.

Here is what I’ve taken with me after my first semester of college:

1. With great freedom comes great responsibility.

College is the first time where you won’t get in trouble for not having a hall pass when you want to go to the bathroom! Woo! But really -- your first semester in college will allow you so many new freedoms. Use that to your advantage. Use your freedom to take care of yourself and your grades.

2. Stand for something.

You know the saying, “stand for something or you’ll fall for anything?” College is filled with so many different people from such different walks of life. Now is the time to figure out who you are and what you stand for so that others don’t end up making those decisions for you.

3. If you aren’t already a self-starter, become one.

In high school, teachers would remind you over and over again when an assignment was due, and chances are you’d get in trouble for skipping class. In college, no one cares, which is exactly the problem. You’ll have to find your own motivation to keep yourself on track, because no one is going to be with you to wake you up in the morning when you hit “off” instead of “snooze” on your alarm (another tip --set multiple alarms!). Which leads me to my next point…

4. Go to class. You’re paying for it.

College is expensive. If you purchased tickets to Coachella, would you not go? I know, I know, ECON 101 is arguably less atmospheric, and Beyonce definitely isn’t going to be in your stats class, but you’re paying a lot of money to be here… so just go to class! (You’ll make better grades, too!)

5. Get to know your instructors.

You will eventually get stuck with an instructor (or two) that you will have to merely tolerate. If you’re lucky enough to have a good one, talk to them! Create a dialogue with them. You don’t have be best friends with them, but it’s much easier to talk to a professor or seek help when you aren't strangers. Plus, the more they know you, the more they are likely to be willing to help you.

6. Sit in the front of the class. Seriously.

Sitting in the front means a few things: more dialogue with the professor, a better view of everything, *and* fewer distractions (you won’t have to get mad at the girl in front of you snapchatting her equally annoying boyfriend all of class!). Plus, instructors generally see the students in the front as the ones most willing to learn. And that can serve you well if you ever need anything from them. Still not enough reasons to sit up front? Studies have shown that students who sit in the front of the class tend to average two letter grades higher than those in the back row!

7. Rewrite your notes.

Here’s a tip I learned from my MGMT instructor: Rewrite your notes from each week. It’ll be worth it when exam time comes around and you realize how prepared you already are. Don’t like writing on paper? Join Quizlet. It’s the modern college kid’s favorite invention and… it’s free (!).

8. Dress smart.

You don’t need a new wardrobe. In fact, all of those clothes you think you’re gonna need: you won't! My dorm-living friends brought back home about half of their clothes they had brought with them to camp.

With that being said, don’t be one of those people who wears slippers around campus. Sure, it’s comfy, but your worn-in Converse are comfy, too, and will save you so much dignity(!). As my MGMT instructor always said: when you look good, you feel good!

And while I’m at it -- don’t walk around barefoot. Before I got to college, I would have never thought people going barefoot around campus would have been a thing. Guess what? It’s a thing. Wear shoes. Just. Wear. Them.

9. Always be 10 minutes early.

You know who isn’t late to class? Good professors. And you know what good professors notice when they get to their class? The students who are in their seats early. My generation isn't known for having the best etiquette, but being from South Louisiana, I was always told: “if you aren’t ten minutes early, you’re late.” I’m happy that stuck with me. Show your professor you care about their class so much that you came to class *gasp* 10 minutes early, and you'll leave a good impression.

10. Put the phone down.

Aside from being downright rude to your instructor, being on your phone nonstop throughout class is not helping out our generation’s stereotypes of being obsessed with our phones. We’re smarter than that. Again, you’re paying for it, and it’s just an hour. Just put your phone down!

11. Your new best friend is named Google Calendar.

Make a free account, get the app, and write everything down. From important dates listed in your syllabi to financial aid deadlines: Write it down! It’ll help with remembering to complete scholarship applications on time, turn papers in on time, and of course… FAFSA. Did you know you have to file FAFSA every year?!).

12. Ask for help!

No man (or woman) is an island! Don’t be afraid to seek help or utilizes tools to help you succeed. If you need something, find the right person to ask! Use all of your resources available to you, including your writing labs, your advisors, and tutoring services that your school provides!

And speaking of resources… Did you know that you can use the Career Compass “ASK ME!” app for FAFSA deadlines and scholarship reminders? It’s free! Inside the app, there are tons of support resources for Louisiana high school students. And, there’s a link directly to the FSA’s FAFSA app, and you can fill out your FAFSA right from your phone, without your mom hovering while you try to remember your social security number! Check it out!

About Sydney: Sydney Scott is a development associate for Career Compass’ communications partner. As an intern, Sydney is primarily responsible for social media brand development of clients and assists in grant writing and funding initiatives. While Sydney may be new to the world of marketing and PR, she has a valuable perspective when it comes to brand development. She has had longtime involvement in the fashion blogging community, as well as the equestrian Instagram blogging community. In 2018, Sydney’s involvement in social media led to over 20 offers for brand sponsorships on her personal Instagram account. Her passion for writing has led to her developing a love for grant writing, which she continues to gain experience in. Sydney’s work reflects her fundamental belief that social media success is the key to partnership growth in the current age of technology. Sydney is currently attending Southeastern Louisiana University in pursuit of a Marketing degree, with a concentration on Social Media Advertising. She plans to graduate early and obtain her MBA at UT Austin. 

Follow her on her Instagram account and on the Career Compass social media accounts, which she curates when she’s not studying.