Are you stuck in college?

By Zai of Take Charge Ladies

At the college I went to, it seemed as though most students were going for some sort of Van Wilder reputation. They were considered the “professional students.” The ones who had, for more than five or six years, been sitting in a chair with a desk attached to it.

Many of them had legitimate reasons for being long-time college students. They had children, full-time jobs, or health issues that required much of their time. But most of the students I’d met simply had poor excuses.

For one,  they’d been spoiled throughout their k-12 education. Mrs. Teacher gave them report cards, warnings, detentions, awards, assigned seating, and extra credit. These students probably dreamed of being successful by their mid-20s, perhaps even the next best thing by 30. But, pop. That bubble burst when they were no longer forced to excel. Attending class was optional, and so was college altogether.

Laziness stepped in. They chose to play now and work later. Really later. Especially in Miami, where I’m from, nightlife and social status became real distractions. College students wanted the college lifestyle sans the college work.

And now, I’ve found that some of these students are feeling left out when college graduations come around. They see their peers succeeding and feel like failures. But fear not! Here are a few tips for those students who are stuck in a college rut and need out now:

Prioritize. Let’s make this simple – school should be number one (or close to it if you have special circumstances) on your priority list. School is what’s going to help you get the job, allow you to afford a good life for you and your family and essentially will make everything else in life easier. The partying, drinking and socializing are all tons of fun, but unless you plan on becoming a professional “partier” or alcoholic, they should be nowhere on your priority list. Instead, use them as incentives. Study hard, get an A, and treat yourself to a night out with the ladies. It’s a win, win!

Take responsibility. You’re not going to have anyone guiding you through college.  Every step of getting through it counts entirely on you. So, register to as many classes as you can take, commit to them, and try your hardest to actually learn. And yes, you can definitely do it while working part- or full-time. My humanities professor once told me something that will forever stick to me, and it applies to many situations. It went something like this: “People need to stop saying they can’t,” he said. ” They can and will do everything they make themselves do. If you didn’t do it, it’s not because you couldn’t. It’s because you didn’t try hard enough. You think the Great Pyramid was built by a buncha smiling, happy men drenched in sweat? No! They did it because they had to and made themselves do it.”

Set (and meet) goals. Throughout college, I kept a red, raggedy notebook titled “Goals and stuff.” Fine, I’ll admit to using it for doodling in class, but in it I also constantly set short-term and long-term goals for myself. My short-term goals were always very detailed. And I always set a date to meet each goal by. At times, I felt like I was in a competition with that little notebook. I wanted to prove to “it” that I could and would meet my goals. I pushed myself hard. If I ever slacked, it was like the notebook was sticking its tongue out at me, chanting “nani, nani, boo, boo.” As silly as it sounds, it was my “fun” way of achieving my little dreams. And it worked.

Love to learn. If you constantly refer to school in a negative manner, it will forever feel like a drag. Don’t go to school “whether you like it not.” Go to school because you like it. Take classes that are interesting and enjoyable .If possible, join clubs that encourage your hunger to learn. Doing this will boost your interest in school, which will eventually lead to taking more classes and graduating.

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