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10 Thoughts You'll Have Your First Month Of College

You'll have these thoughts or variations thereof; some are great and others need to be stamped out pronto.

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1. OMG IT’S HERE!

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Yes it is, and yes, every ounce of excitement you feel is well placed.

2. This is even more awesome than I thought.

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College will (hopefully) exceed your expectations in many ways, especially in the first few weeks when everything is new and exciting. But soon enough you'll acclimate and what was once novel will be the norm, which is pretty awesome too.

3. Pff a whole three weeks before my first assignment is due!?

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This is a thought that can lead to disaster. You get your syllabi the first week of classes, outlining all your due dates for the term, and it seems like you have all of eternity to get shit done. Here's the thing though: that time will fly by faster than you can possibly imagine. When you get your syllabi, plug in all your due dates to your calendar (and omg if you don't have a calendar, get one). Start your assignments early - comically early, even - to save yourself stress later on.

4. Shit. These readings are dense.

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Yes, they are. Welcome to the world of academia. Remember that reading is not simply a task to complete, but a process:

1) Before you read, note down WHY you're reading what your'e reading. What themes/theories are you covering and in what way(s) might this reading contribute to meeting the learning objectives of the week/unit/course?

2) Read. WHAT are you reading? Note down the argument(s), evidence and why/why not the evidence is compelling.

3) Once you're done reading, reflect. HOW does what you’re reading relate to why you’re reading it? ‘So what?’

5. Why does everyone seem smarter than me?

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Some are smarter, some are less smart, in all likelihood most are around your level and wondering the same thing. Importantly, it doesn't matter. Your university experience is distinctly yours, other people's intelligence - perceived or actual - has no bearing on how you choose to work and learn.

6. K srsly, we’re not actually meant to do all these readings right?

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No, you're not, and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it. You cannot read each word of each assigned reading and still have a life. You need to read as much as you can, as efficiently as you can, so that you understand course material and can think critically about it (which means you can participate in tutorial and write a good paper).

7. How is this assignment due already?

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Yep, those due dates are stealthy af. If you find yourself with a ton of work to do at the last minute (see: the danger of #3), get yourself to a quiet space where you can first evaluate exactly the steps you need to take to complete the assignment, then take those steps one at a time, focused and systematically. When you're done, remember this situation is 100% preventable; start your assignments early and plan to finish them before the due date. The stress and anxiety otherwise just isn't worth it.

8. Pulling an all-nighter isn’t THAT bad.

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There's a certain rush and misplaced sense of accomplishment that comes from pulling an all-nighter and finishing whatever work you need to finish 'on time'. This is the last resort of all last resorts because it IS that bad and your grades will reflect as much.

9. Wtf. I got 90s in high school and I get a C on my first paper?

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Your work now is held to entirely different standards than high school. Luckily, no one expects you to immediately meet those standards. There's a learning curve and plenty of resources to master it sooner than later - your profs, T.A.'s, student learning centres, libraries etc. all have a wealth of information on how to read, research, write papers, study for exams etc. Seek out these resources, use them, and witness your uni experience get a whole lot better.

10. I’m never drinking again.

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