A Duke Student’s Advice for Transitioning to College

April 21, 2014

We asked Ruby, a student at Duke, about the hardest points of transitioning to college. Read her answers here!

To answer this question in one word: flexibility. Growing up at the same school and living with the same people for 14 years through elementary school to high school, I had become accustomed to a set, rigid, daily routine.  I would wake up at the same time, go to class at the same time, eat lunch at the same time, do homework at the same time, and was involved with the same activities that met at the same time, every day for most my life.  However, in college, there is no routine – none! Every day is different as I have classes that start and end at different times of the day and my schedule is unpredictable.  That is why time management is so important, because you need know what you need to get done and when you have time to do it! Otherwise, you will think you have time later, only to realize that you don’t.

Also, planning out my day was burdensome because there were so many things to think about. There is no right answer as to where you should be, or what you should be doing so there is a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.  I found that in order to be successful in college, I needed to adjust to my dynamic environment and focus at one task at a time.  Because there are no short term deadlines for most my classes (only 2 midterms, a few problem sets and finals per semester) I found it very useful to delineate what my top priorities were for every day and then make sure to do them.  In college I learned that you need to be in control of your time, rather than time controlling what you do. Be proactive and honest with yourself about what you need to do every day, and then do it.  If something important comes up (which trust me, always does), know what your priorities are and adjust your plan so that you are most efficient and effective with your time.

To read Ruby’s admissions essays and other advice, visit her Admit profile!

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