Column: College is no walk in the park and the best way to handle it is to manage what time you have

Freshman year of college is full of many twists and turns, all of which you must adapt to in order to succeed.

Olivia Apostolovski is a freshman pre-journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about social issues for the Maneater.

As the spring semester of freshman year comes to a close for the class of 2022, I speak for myself and my peers when I say that college has been the hardest obstacle to face. The general consensus has always been that college is a time for freedom and figuring out your place in the world but no one explained how difficult and different it was from everything else.

I started out with a vision that college was essentially going to to be a walk in the park. I thought I might struggle here and there, but for the most part, it would be like living on cloud nine. I was so very wrong.

It wasn’t the deadlines or the assignments but the amount of freedom and time where I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I would often spend more time working at my job than I would working on homework, because sometimes the money seemed to be more important than a few math problems.

This first year has reiterated how easy it really can be to get behind on assignments. Missing just one day of class can really hurt you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Balance is the hardest thing to maintain, especially when you have some classes that meet everyday, while others only meet twice a week.

It is also very easy to get caught up in the habit of not going to class, a running joke with some of my friends and I is that if you’re thinking about not going to class, then you’ve already made up your mind. This is the reality of it, in the beginning it may seem fine to not go but when there is an exam looming in the near future and you have no knowledge about it, the terror of failing becomes all too real.

Failure is something else that is a scary concept to process. Personally, I was always a good student up until college, so the thought of getting below a C in any class was never on my mind. However I began to rethink that once the course load of the classes hit. It is okay to fail, it is okay to not get the best grade, there is always the option of retaking the class or withdrawing from it.

College is not for everyone, I found that out when one of my good friends had made the choice to leave, not because she wanted to, but because she had to. Money will always be an issue, especially if you are depending on loans and scholarships instead of your parents, which is a luxury many people cannot afford. Over 44 million Americans collectively hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and only 54.8 percent of students graduate in six years.

In the process of all of this, I learned some very vital tips that I will share, for myself and for whoever may be joining MU in the fall.

Don’t take advantage of your professors’ kindness and leniency. They will be understanding to an extent, but as quickly as they can show sympathy they can take it away. Due dates are your best friend but also your enemy, you will often know them ahead of time and it is very important to start working on them early, contrary to popular belief. You will never have enough hours in the day to do all of your homework, unless you are a zombie and don’t need to sleep, so pick and chose what is the most important. Lastly, remember to take care of yourself because your mental health is something that will deteriorate rapidly if you do not give yourself personal time.

I have gained much perspective throughout this year from myself, my actions and from the individuals who I met and become close friends with. By May I will have a whole year under my belt, and I can say that time has definitely flown by. Honestly, I don’t know whether to be thankful for it or upset that it is almost over.

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