College is a time of tremendous personal change, says author Julie Zeilinger.  Credit: Fuse College is a time of tremendous personal change, says author Julie Zeilinger.
Credit: Fuse

People sometimes forget that freshman year of college, in addition to being a time of exploration and new experiences, is also a time of tremendous personal change. In her new book “College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year,” rising Barnard College senior Julie Zeilinger explores the reality of college life. She shares some advice with readers:

Every day won’t be the best day ever

“One of the reasons I wrote this book was because pop culture keeps telling us that college is the most fun ever, the best four years of your life,” says Zeilinger. “College is a huge transition for many rising freshmen. It’s a very different lifestyle.” She urges students to be realistic.

No, everyone isn’t partying without you

“There’s this idea that people are partying all of the time or that people are hooking up constantly,” notes the author. “In reality, people are just living their lives.”

There’s no right way to study

“When I got to college, I would study in the library all of the time, because I thought that that’s what you are supposed to do in college,” says Zeilinger, a sociology major. “But I just couldn’t concentrate there. It wasn’t until I started studying in a coffee shop that I finally found what was working for me.”

“There’s no one formula,” she adds.

Time management is key

Remember, the majority of work in college is done outside of the classroom, so it’s important to manage your schedule. “Succeeding academically is not about being the smartest,” says Zeilinger. “A lot of it is strategy.”

Take care of yourself

Don’t be afraid to tell someone if you are struggling. “We sometimes act like we don’t want anyone to know,” Zeilinger says. “Then we feel very alone and we feel like we are failing. But no one is alone.”

Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.

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