You’ve been accepted to one of the colleges in South Florida, and it seems like life is pretty good. You’re probably already daydreaming about sunshine and beach time but you might need to slow down a little bit. Your primary reason for going to college should be academics, and you also need to prepare for some of the challenges you might face.
Prepare for the Weather
Unless you’re from South Florida or another tropical climate yourself, you probably aren’t ready for just how hot and humid this part of the country can be. You may need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle. That could mean trying to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day or switching your exercise schedule around so that you’re going for your run in the very early morning.
Sunscreen is a must. It’s also necessary to remain hydrated, so carry a water bottle around with you and drink from it regularly. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion so that you can make sure that you don’t overdo it.
Manage Your Budget
The cost of living varies across this part of the state, but wherever you are living and going to school, you’ll need to be careful about your spending. If you’ve never had to manage your own budget before, you may have what feels like a steep learning curve ahead of you, but the good news is that anyone can learn how to budget effectively. Budgeting is all about knowing exactly how much money you have over a certain period and what expenses you have. You’ll probably be certain about some of those expenses, such as what your rent will be. You may have to estimate others for now.
You can refine your budget as you go along. Be sure to leave room for some fun and leisure as well as for expenses that are occasional, such as birthday presents for friends or family members. You might also want to think about getting a credit card. You shouldn’t rely on this, but you can use it in emergencies and to start building a credit history. Try not to put things on it you can’t pay off monthly. Choosing the right one among the available student credit cards is important, and you can do some research to figure out the best one for you.
Manage Your Time
Distractions from studying are older than the concept of the university itself. You’re going to face a particularly big challenge when it comes to managing your time. It can be tempting to sleep in and spend the rest of the day at the beach instead of going to class. Of course, this is not a sustainable way to attend college, and eventually, you’re either going to come to your senses or get kicked out.
It might surprise you to learn that the solution is not to pledge to spend all your time studying. That is not a good way to manage stress and anxiety and won’t work either because it leads to burnout.
There’s no point in going to college in South Florida and never taking advantage of all that the great location offers, but this is a time when the adage moderation in everything comes in handy. Do make time for the great recreational opportunities that abound but not at the expense of your grades.
There’s more to succeeding academically than not missing class. You might need to learn new study skills, particularly if you were the kind of high school student who sailed through your classes without much effort. College may demand more of you. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours even if you don’t have any questions about your class or assignment.
It can be good to touch base with them and show that you are engaged, particularly since you may need them to write a recommendation for you later. In addition, you should try to get involved in some extracurricular activities. These can provide great opportunities for friendships, networking and developing such soft skills as communication and leadership. You can join organizations related to your hobbies as well as those connected to your future career aspirations.