In college you have tremendous amount of freedom. No one is monitoring your progress, checking on your homework or making sure you are attending class every day. For once in your life, mom and dad aren’t telling you what to do and when to do it. You have full control.

But, just because you have freedom doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities. I think having a realistic expectation about college will allow you to plan your classes accordingly and lead you to academic success. When I was in high school I thought college was all about socializing  and somehow getting your homework done magically. I may have watched too many movies back then 😛

From dropping out of college, then attending community college and now at a private 4 year university. I am confident to say that hard work pays off.  You can have a great college experience if you put in the effort and take action.

Personal Responsibility

Your professor is not going to check on you to see if you have done the assignment or reading at home. Instead he/she will expect that you complete the homework, so you come to class and contribute to discussions. It’s not hard for a Professor to notice who isn’t doing the reading. They also take note on people who come late to class regularly. Don’t be that person! These impressions can alter your final grade. Make sure you do the assigned readings early. If you leave it last minute you will regret it. Do your readings and just go to class. It actually helps you in the long run such as midterms and final exams. Be a responsible student and if you can’t do the assignment, make sure you communicate with your professor. Also if for some reason you cannot make it to class, be sure to communicate in advance. This shows the Professor that you take this matter seriously and you are considerate of others.

Critical Thinking Skills

There is a lot of reading in college. You will be expected to understand and analyze what you read. You will be asked to draw conclusions, compare, form opinions and evaluate the ideas of others. This can be tricky if you are not used to reading a lot of books but take baby steps. My first day at LMU, I was assigned so many readings all due the same week. I was overwhelmed and stressed.But I told myself to take baby steps.

Divide the reading each day so it will be less overwhelming. As I said before if you read last minute, you won’t wake up happy the next day. Don’t cram. Divide your readings and conquer.

More Independant Study

You have one hour of class and expected to do most of the learning by yourself. I guess that is one of the perks of college; short class time BUT on the other hand you are expected to study more outside of class. For every 1 hour of class you should study 2-3 hours outside of class. This is recommended and it works. I find myself better prepared for a class when I spend 2 hours studying at home. There is so much material that Professors don’t go in depth in class, so your job at home is to revise, make notes and prepare for the upcoming class. Professors assign readings for a reason. These readings allow you get a sense of what the upcoming class will be about and provides more information in depth. Class time is short so Professors don’t cover all the material they would like to.

Class Sizes

Class sizes vary. Community college was around 30-45 students per class. Public university lecture halls could be 50-300 students and private university class size at LMU, maximum is 30 students. Just keep this in mind, when you are choosing your college, so you can have a better idea if this is going to be the right fit for you. I chose LMU, a private university because it is important for me to engage with my Professor and peers. Also, I don’t like sitting in a lecture hall with 300 students because that is overwhelming and I find myself being distracted for some reason. The smaller the better for me! I have more opportunities to speak in class discussions which help me retain the material better.

Make time for yourself

And most importantly, make time for you. Some people think this isn’t necessary and they can just recover over the weekend. But weekends are filled with events that make you tempted to go out and do things, leaving less time for yourself. For me, I plan out my weekends so I can be efficient as possible and leave time to relax.

Health is wealth. Even on the busiest day of the week, I always make an effort to go to the gym, to take care of myself mentally and physically. Afterwards, I feel less stressed. Don’t underestimate the power of endorphins 🙂 they really make a difference to your day.

Take care of yourself because no one else will.


Your success to college depends on your health. If you are sick you won’t be able to attend class > miss important class material > be behind > hard to catch up. That is why it is so important to take time off and not overwork yourself. You are not a machine, you are human.

I hope you liked this post! Last week I had the pleasure to work with the talented Simrah who is also an LMU student. Check out Simrah:


Can’t wait to show you guys our collaboration together. Simrah is awesome!!

Midterms are around the corner, so is fall! Wishing everyone good luck on their midterms.

You’ve got this!

With Love,

Catherine Ha

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