Reaching out to professors and learning how to create a teacher-student relationship is vital, especially at such a large school. Going to office hours and letting the professor know you care about your education and progress in the class can be the difference between a B+ and an A. Time management and study skills are vital. Studying for a high school exam does not compare to the way one should effectively study for a college examination. Professors test on different skills; focusing more on thinking outside the box and being able to apply what you learned to everyday situations.
Socially and academically asserting yourself is crucial in adjusting to a big campus. Hoards of people around campus and large class sizes can be intimidating, but taking advantage of the resources that large universities offer will help you integrate into campus life. It's important to remember that at a large university, you are NOT just a number! It's easy to lose yourself in the student population, but if you take the effort to join a club, visit your professors' office hours, and open yourself to all experiences you'll find success and happiness on a large campus!
It would have been helpful to know the intensity in the study standard required at the college level. Throughout high school I had always studied hard, but I did not know that college meant using a majority of your free time to study. Going into college I believed that I had the perfect study habits; however, I learned quickly that I needed to improve my routine. I went from reading notes and memorizing to creating detailed study guides and actually learning the content I was studying. It would have been helpful to practice this technique before moving on to college.
Before I came to this school I wish I knew the financial aid they offered barely covered the cost of attendance . I also wish I knew the "diversity" this school prides itself on is almost non-existent. The campus population is diverse, this campus does not do a great job of fostering connections among these different groups. In order for diversity to matter, it has to be addressed inside and outside the classroom. It is not very effective when all racial and/or ethnic groups stay in their own separate groups, but that is exactly what happens on this campus.
Before I came to the University of Maryland I wish I had known how to completely use the resources available to me. The campus has four different libraries and the largest one, McKeldin library has 7 floors. The library has many resources to help with your research projects and utilizing documents in the library. I also hadn't realied how many diverse subjects I could take. I was able to take a WestAfrican Dance Class along with my other science classes since I am a Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics Major. I wish I had known the opportunities available.
Before attending Maryland, I wish I had became more familiar with the arts. I wish I had already mastered drawing in different styles and using charcoal. For my first semester, I took Art110 to advance my art skills and to aid my goal of becoming an architect. Taking this course exposed to me that I had much to learn about the arts. If I had already used some of the media and drawn in the various drawing styles before attending college I would have been more prepared and created more sophisticated drawings in my art classes and Architecture courses.
Before I came to Maryland, I wish I had known that the academic work would be so challenging. Coming into the engineering school I was surprised at the workload thrown upon students. Working through it wasn't easy, but it was worthwhile. I learned how to study, how to manage my time, and ask for help when I need it. Along the way, whenever I faltered there was a support system there to help me. I had a peer mentor, advisor, and everyone within the department was more than helpful. I wish I had realied the difficulty before starting.
Many incoming university students seek the advice of friends, family or alumni and while these personal accounts can act as an important guide, they are not always applicable. In many situations, I wish I had known not to rely on others experiences when making my own personal decisions. It is important to realize that each person has their own individual goals and are following a certain direction. When seeking advice it is important to stay objective, to know the options are endless and it is up to you to discover, experience and learn!
I wish I paid closer attention to the timeline for completing my masters degree. After obtaining my undergraduate degree I pursued the masters degree with the same university. I was two classes shy of graduation when I went through a divorce and was unable to focus on classes. I had to quit school for a while. When I was ready to finish I found that too much time had lapsed and I lost all my credits in the masters program. I could not apply any of my past credits nor apply knowledge gained on the job toward my credit hours.
College is a chance to understand who you are and what is important to you. Therefore it is extremely important to explore several classes that tap into your interests and passions so that upon graduation you have a good idea of what job will stimulate your interests. Education is extremely valuable and in many parts of the world, is not accessible. This should not be taken for granted and you should not waste your parents money. Learn a language, take up philosophy, learn about other people, yourself and what you truly love.