5 Impactful Tips for your Successful College Career


Bunton in spring 2019 after orientation event (left) and summer 2021 (right) one semester left before graduation.

As someone who is graduating with my bachelors almost 2 years early—I know that college goes by quickly. And it will go fast for you even if you have 4 years or more! You already know how fast high school went, and it is not much different to college besides piles of homework, jobs, adult responsibilities and trying to figure out what you want to do the rest of your life. Easy stuff. I wanted to share 5 easy and valuable tips that helped me feel fulfilled in my 2 years at Marshall.  

The first goal 

The first goal? Is to set the goals. This is something that most people ignore and push to the back of your to-do list (which is somewhat funny because when you are comfortable with your goals, your to-do list will look amazing!) No, you don’t have to plan out your 10-year or 5-year goals, but you should think about the next few years in college. This will keep you motivated throughout your years and the goals may change frequently—heck, I know they will a little bit. This project will also help you know which classes would be best for your education and will allow you to tell your advisors or professors what you want to do. They can let you plan your assignments according to your goal and may have the best advice for you in that specific field. Start your writing! 

Get the ears working 

One of the most important rules regarding your classes and working with other scholars is to listen and be heard. How does this work? I’m not going to tell you to sit in the front seat because not everyone is able to concentrate that close, but there are other ways that will allow your professors know you are listening. Sit in the middle of the classroom—preferably closer to the professor’s side—or if you’re in an online class, try to have your camera on and respond to your professors’ assignments even if it isn’t a question. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking in class, stay after class for a few minutes or send thoughtful emails. Stay in contact and let them know your education goals or simply make sure you are on the right track. This will not only help your work and involvement, but this will also let you your professors know you listen and care—which results with my second tip. Be heard. 

One of the best feelings to feel in school or your dream job is to be heard. But this takes work and practice. You are going to realize that there are several students in your class that do not care about work and would rather not be there. That is fine and all, but that’s not you—or I hope not. I don’t think you would be reading my advice column if you were. When you show that you care and do your work with all your time and creativity, you will have listeners. Be patient and keep working.  

Create your semester calendar 

I know what it feels like to be drowning in your assignments and trying to choose if you should scream or cry because you have no time for anything else or the fact you slept through your 9 a.m. class because you barely slept and you are a bit…unstable. I guarantee that you will feel this way. It is all about prioritizing your classes and putting forth effort towards your major assignments. In the beginning of a semester, write down all your due dates (this will be helpful overall) and write in order the most important classes and the most time consuming. This will help you work on the most important classes—which is what I will talk about in the next tip. 

More than an Assignment. 

So now you wrote your classes to most important to least and know what your major assignments will be that semester. Good. Now you need to realize how important these major assignments are. This isn’t like high school where it is just important to pass the grade or state test, but it is important to show your future boss how important you are for their company. Most jobs ask for years of experience that is often not capable of someone in their 20s. There may be a few people with job experience, but not many have some real proof of hard work. You can have good recommendations or be a hard worker—but a good portfolio is worth a lot. Use these classes like an internship and build that resume!  


I don’t think most people—especially in their teens and young 20s—know how important documenting their life is. Including me—I am only 21 and know I need to document more in my life whether that is photos, video, or journaling. Like my grandma always says when a family member complains about her need of capturing everyday moments, “When you have dementia one day, you’ll wish I took this photo.” One thing I try to do at the end of the semester is to collect or analyze the things I have learned or created in the classes, internships, hobbies or friendships I experienced within the 3 and a half months. You will be shocked to see how much you have grown in a short period of time and what you can use for your portfolio. It is something that I look forward to at the end of the semester. You will also appreciate all the hard work that you put in—even if it is mentally or physically painful during the process.