College Advice from A Fourth Year

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Fall semester is in the works! For freshmen, this might be an intimidating transition from high school, but you’ll find that it’s not as terrifying as it may seem. From having an endless summer to packing up and moving to college, this milestone can be a fast-paced change, but it’s up to you to make this experience yours. Going into my fourth year at State, I’ve learned a lot about not only my academic life, but also my social life. Here’s some things I learned: 

Get Close with Your Professor 

I’m not saying that you should be besties with your professor and have tea with them during their office hours (though some professors at State are open to the idea), but one thing I learned is to always communicate with your professor. If you are struggling with your mental health or, in general, are packed, this is something to tell your professor early on as it can be beneficial for the future. 

This not only limits building a relationship between you and your professor, but this can be useful if you are prone to procrastination. Since it’s the beginning of the school year, this is the perfect opportunity to do this. 

If you give your professor a heads up from the start, they are more likely to become understanding if anything does come up. This can be beneficial if you need to negotiate turning an assignment in or asking for an extension. Surely your professors are understanding to begin with, but creating that foundation in the beginning gives them a better grasp of what is going on with you.

Utilize Campus Resources

One thing I wish I knew about sooner is the campus resources that are made available. We go to a school that provides limitless resources catered to their students, the only issue: not a lot of students know about it.

Did you know we have a therapist on campus? And a women’s center? Surely, you’ve seen the random buckets of free condoms in Caesar Chavez. There are so many amazing programs that SFSU has to offer, all of which are catered for different parts of your identity. You can learn more about it by reaching out to the Associated Students of SFSU where they will definitely have something made available for you. 

Get Out There! 

As intimidating as it may be to get yourself out there, you’ll be so glad that you did. In my first year of college, I wasn’t very open to the idea of getting out of my comfort bubble as I felt fine with the friends that I already had. When COVID hit in 2020, I lost that sense of community that I wish I could’ve been a part of before everything went remote. 

It is never too late to join organizations during your college years. It’s a great way to meet new people, make new friends, build stronger connections, and grow your network! 

Don’t Burn Yourself Out 

As an avid overachiever, burning out is a recurring issue that I struggle with myself, and so many college students alike, this is a common theme— especially when midterms and finals week roll in. It’s important to pace your workload and be aware of what YOU can handle. I used to overload my schedule and tell myself I could handle it, but then I would have breakdowns every week or even get sick from fatigue. I would push myself too hard. Just remember to breathe, pace yourself, and listen to what your body needs. 

Just like high school, college flies by fast. All of this may be easier said than done, but keep this in mind as you go through the motions. I didn’t take my own advice until my third year, but as they say: better late than never. From simply communicating with my professor to joining different organizations to not burning myself out, I got the college basics under wraps as I dive into my fourth year. Wishing you all the greatest luck in your college endeavors and a wonderful great start to the semester! 



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