This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Jessica Su, Caltech Class of 2013
More questions on Colleges and Universities:
- Make friends early. Everyone wants to make friends their first year, and you should take advantage of this to make good friends.
- Find a workout buddy. Exercise will keep you happy and motivated, and it's a lot easier to go to the gym if you are accountable to another person.
- Make friends who will bring you closer to college life, not draw you away from it. Avoid making friends who are universally disliked, monopolize your time, or don't go to your school. You want to be friends with socially connected people who can introduce you to other people.
- Don't spend so much time on the Internet. College is awesome, and you don't want to miss it because you were checking your notifications on Quora. In fact you should probably download a program that blocks certain websites at certain hours of the day. If you have a Mac, I recommend SelfControl.
- Don't overexert yourself. You should always ask yourself "Would I be happy working at this level for the next four years?" If the answer is no, taking fewer classes will reduce your chances of burning out.
- If you have to pull an all-nighter, ask for an extension instead. Many classes will allow you to take one free extension or drop the lowest grade. Pulling all-nighters will prevent you from focusing in class and doing good work the next day. Also, start assignments early so you don't have to do this more than once a term.
- Go to class, even if you don't understand the lectures. This will prevent days from blending into each other, and it's easier to look up the material later if you know exactly what was covered.
- Learn to cook quick meals.