I’m a college junior. I think a lot of people have pointed out great tips, but my brain isn’t in a place for reading text walls this afternoon (though clearly I have no issue writing them) so forgive me if I’m repeating what other people have said.
The most impactful things that have helped me so far, in no particular order, are as follows:
1: Prioritize Sleep!
Do everything in your power to get enough sleep. Sleep is more important than cramming. If you stay up too late studying for a test, your memory recall will be damaged by being sleep deprived. It’s not worth it! Prioritize sleep and it will make you a better student and help you handle what life and college throws at you.
2: Talk to your advisor
And do it often. My advisor at my last school (I just transferred at the beginning of the year) was absolutely invaluable to me. If your advisor doesn’t work well with you, see about switching to another. In my experience (this might be different at other schools, but in the two I’ve been in) most advisors past your first year are going to be faculty also teaching at the school, so they can be really helpful with navigating your other classes.
This goes for counseling at your school as well. Many schools provide free counselors and it can be super helpful to meet with them frequently.
3: Get to know both faculty and staff.
I make it a point to build a relationship with all of my teachers, starting as early as possible. That way I’m much less anxious when I need to contact them about coursework, and they’re more likely to be lenient with you if you need an extension or something. It does nothing but help to be friendly with your professors! You’ll really click with some, and you won’t as much with others, but in my experience most instructors will go out of their way to help students that seek help. So be friendly, make yourself known to your professors, and they’re going to be more willing to go the extra mile to help you succeed.
And - I don’t know how much this applies to a non-art program setting, but getting to know the studio technician was invaluable at my school. He knows everything and if he couldn’t answer a question, he knew who would and could point me in their direction. This pretty much goes hand and hand with meeting frequently w/ your advisor, tbh.
4: Don’t be ashamed to pace yourself.
College is hard and stressful and a lot to manage. Don’t be ashamed to take as few classes as you financially can. At my current school, the standard is to take five classes. Full time is four, which I have to maintain to keep my scholarship, and honestly? I’m fairly overwhelmed at that. I’m working towards not judging myself for needing to take an extra year to graduate, because it’s better to work with your brain than to burn out and give up.
You can do it! I believe in you and wish you the best of luck <3