For us onlooking or partaking upperclassmen, that feeling isn’t too distant. As a freshman, the sense of being lost in a big new world was exciting, but at the same time I treasured every bit of advice I could get. And there are still many things I wish I would have known then. Now that I’m a few years older, I thought I’d share some thoughts. More importantly, I went around and asked some of the most accomplished Penn students for what recommendations they’d give to freshmen.
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Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!
If you are having trouble with a subject or want to make sure you are studying the right concepts, make a list of questions to ask your professor. Most are open to answering any questions you have about the material or their tests. If you know the test is going to be essay, find out exactly what the professor wants you to focus on so that you can achieve the maximum amount of points possible.
The most common culprit of free time is TV. Most adults spend about 20 hours per week watching TV. We are not saying you should never watch TV; we’re suggesting that you give up watching the TV shows that do not really interest you. Free up your time. Record what you love for viewing on demand and nix the rest of that dead TV time. Reducing your TV time by 10 hours per week will result in 10 hours of free time to devote to your online education. Ten hours of free time per week is enough to complete that long-delayed dream of earning a college degree.
If you have children, you’ll need to plan for their care when you return to college. For most working adults, the option of professional childcare is an expensive one. Moreover, most professional daycare centers are not open weekends or late at night, the times when most adults are in classes. Be creative when scouting for childcare options. Use these tips for success.
A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group (and be careful not to go overboard) -- student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. You'll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.
Holy cow, the universities make a boatload off of textbooks! Using one book for a semester (even with selling it back) can cost $100 plus! Many companies like Amazon sell textbooks cheaper than at universities and offer gift cards at a decent rate to sell them back. I had a great experience with the buyback program…much better than selling a book back for next to nothing at the school store!
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