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EIU Department of

Building Good Habits 

Everything in moderation  

College can easily be a free for all. Stay up all night, sleep all day, eat ginormous amounts of dining hall food, go on a twelve hour Netflix binge, etc. It really is a liberating feeling knowing that you can do whatever you want and no parental figure is going to be there to question you. I get that. This tip serves to tell you that while eating an entire pizza at 4:00am seems fun at the time, your body and your 8:00am class will suffer later. Do yourself a favor—more oft than naught, try to live by the motto “everything in moderation.” Your health, grades, personal relationships, and mental well-being will thank you. 

Take your freshman year seriously

Freshman year is very important; it determines in a way how you will be doing gradewise the next four years. You 
want to start off strong and give it your all. Don’t skip class either. For a lot of the classes, attendance is mandatory. If you don’t show up to class, after certain amount of absences teachers deduct percentage points from your final grade in the class. I have seen that at times people are borderline in a class but since they have missed so many times the teacher just ends up giving them the lower grade because of their absences.  

Create a routine for yourself and stick to it!

It is always good in the first few weeks of school to write down when you have class, but it’s even better to add in time to study, eat, sleep, and do participate in extra-curriculars. This will greatly help you stay focused and stay motivated during the first semester so you don't get off track. 

Play Hard, Work Harder

One of my dear friends shared this quote with me from Lakshmi Mittal, “Hard work certainly goes a long way. These days a lot of people work hard, so you have to make sure you work even harder and really dedicate yourself to what you are doing and setting out to achieve it.” Don’t forget why you made the chose to attend college. Set goals to achieve and go get them. College is a time to have fun and meet new people, do that, while keeping your bright future in mind after graduation.  

With no one to tell you what to do, it can be very tempting to put off all work until last minute, word of advice: DON'T! Create a weekly to do list and try to accomplish something every day on that list! It can be something as simple as doing your dishes or starting a project earlier. Take advantage of your free time in an organized way so you are not stressed out by the end of the semester.  Take breaks.  If you find yourself stressing out, don't be afraid to take a break. Go for a walk or take a nap. Sometimes classes and activities can wear us out, but we can't forget to pay attention to our health. If you find yourself becoming agitated easily or tired all the time, give yourself a personal day. Do a fun activity alone or with friends in order to release stress, so you'll be ready to jump back into your schedule tomorrow! 

Once you get your first assignments for the school year, have a binder or agenda to write them down. Don’t leave it to memory! Once you have this done, block off time throughout the day or at the end of the day to do homework. This will insure you have time to do it--meaning you won’t be scrounging for time ten minutes before class--, you’ll have more time for super fun activities and hanging with new friends, and you won’t start the year feeling like you don’t have control. Being able to have some sense of control is important in making you feel comfortable in such a new environment. 


Be Frugal

 As tempting as it is to exercise your newfound freedom by splurging on all those sweet items you have had waiting on your Amazon wishlist for years, take advantage of college as a time to save. Seriously, you can find free t-shirts, free pizza (you can expect it to be Papa John’s, but you know an organization really loves you when it’s Pagliai’s), and free entertainment all over the place. With a prepaid meal plan and the Panther Shuttle to transport you around town, you can legitimately go multiple weeks without spending a cent. We all know college is expensive long-term, so being a conscious spender now will definitely have its benefits in a few years. 

Apply for Scholarships

 I never really knew what to expect my first year regarding finances. My parents ended up paying a good amount of money because FAFSA and scholarships did not cover it all. I never looked or applied for any scholarships once I was here on campus. The University offers a lot of scholarships, so take advantage of that. There are also outside scholarships that one can apply for.  

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