College life 2019: Be Prepared, Be Safe, Be Involved
By Karla Goodhart
Sharpen your Technical Skills
Regardless of your major, brushing up on your technical skills provides you advantages before college.
Understanding how to use the required technology will allow you to focus more on learning rather than figuring out how to download content, prepare papers and decipher an email program.
As you prepare yourself for your collegiate adventure, take the steps to brush up on your basic knowledge of tools you will rely on.
Knowing your way around a keyboard will make it easier when long draft papers are due and navigating the internet for research. Mastering your typing skills can lessen the time you spend on each assignment and allow you to absorb more knowledge rather than being frustrated about how to transcribe it.
You can find ample typing software with a quick search online or take lessons from a professional or friend. As you get started, practice on your accuracy before speed.
Consider your Online Persona
There will come a time where you will reach out to a professor, administration and peers for assignment instructions or campus questions. A common type of communication will be email and online forums.
Make sure to use a professional tone and proper grammar as the professionals you contact may be references you rely on during your professional career.
It’s also a good idea to keep your social media free from offensive material and negative content.
Research Required Software
If possible, ask your college official if a particular software suite is preferred for spreadsheets, papers and presentations.
Take the time to navigate each program to develop an understanding of how they work. A good place to start is in the help menu where there are typically detailed instructions on features.
Once you are familiar with different techniques, plan to create a mock spreadsheet or presentation to test your capabilities.
The internet is a beneficial tool to understand when you’re conducting research for an assignment. However, preparing a credible document or presentation relies on sourcing credible content.
Understanding how to find these resources can speed up the time you spend researching and discovering the material.
Learn the shortcuts available from popular search engines to produce results from government, medical and other official sources.
Staying Safe on Campus
Depending on the size of your school, the campus can be a very busy place. The key to safety is being aware of your surroundings and looking out for your peers. Take the time to become aware of your surroundings, both inside and outside the classroom.
The United States Department of Education is committed to providing safe-school environments nationwide. Before heading off to college, obtain a copy of their Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting.
It can be easily downloaded from their website and offers a perspective of the steps they take to enhance security.
Be Familiar with the Safety Office
In addition to the experts on campus who will guide you through your collegiate career, you should also familiarize yourself with the safety officials. Learn their procedures on addressing concerns and whom you should contact.
It’s also important to understand the services that a security team offer. Some universities include options like campus escorts, emergency-phone stations and safety maps to showcase exit strategies.
Avoid Being Alone at Night
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals there were 28,400 criminal incidents against persons and properties on campuses in 2016.
One way to protect yourself is to avoid traveling outdoors alone at night. If you find yourself in a situation where you will be navigating outside in the dark, make sure to tell a loved one where you will be or ask friends to take the trip with you.
Be Discreet About Your Location
It’s common for college students to use social media as an outlet for networking and to boast about accomplishments or to share memories. While it can be a great way to make both friends and professional peers, it’s also a way for strangers to know your location.
If you’re attending a music festival or an event away from home, avoid posting pictures until you are back home. If someone with bad intentions realizes your dorm or apartment is vacant, they may be enticed to commit a robbery while you’re away.
You also should check your location settings on each social media profile to maintain privacy about where you are.
Plan to be Involved
Your college career can be enhanced by being active and involved in the extracurricular community. While focusing on your academics should be a top priority, engaging with your peers invites whole memories and professional opportunities.
Before attending college, do your research for interesting clubs to join. You can usually find valuable information on a social media forum with current students or search on a school’s website.
Try to find groups where you can contribute toward its growth with your familiarity on the subject. If you are unable to find a club that inspires you, try to start your own. You should meet with school officials to discover their process of creating a new group.
Here are some other fun ways to become involved in the college community.
A great avenue to take when getting familiar with the student body and how a school operates is by taking a job with the college. Look online or on campus advertisements regarding positions that are available.
You may join a sports team as an assistant or maintenance worker or apply to be a teaching assistant. Try to guide you part-time job toward the field in which you are planning to obtain a degree.
This real-life experience can be an incentive on your resume that hiring managers will appreciate.
Get in touch with your local community and college campus by volunteering your time. Many universities offer positions for students to contribute to the curriculum. Some options to consider are tutoring young children, cleaning up neighborhoods or helping build homes for charity.
Touch base with school officials to learn how you can help and the benefits you receive from donating your services.
A great way to meet new friends and become a part of the campus life is by attending events amongst your peers. Whether it be a local music festival, a sporting event or a charity drive, you can network with many peers and build lasting relationships.
College-sponsored events are also a much safer alternative than attending parties thrown by students. Remember to stay safe when you are visiting an event with large groups of attendants.