The medical schools prefer to see a major that's not "biology" or the like, but of course still have a bunch of science and math prereqs.
This Aaron Wilson is one smart kid... Coming off of finals where doomsday looks imminent, he states nothing but the truth.
I just graduated in May, and I can't agree with this more. It's all about BALANCE -- the first semester, I hit the books at the expense of making friends and the like. Then, I hit the parties too hard for the next couple, near flunked out. I finally found a balance somewhere in the middle by the end of it.
i slept thru high school and was an A/B student (mostly A's). i had that same approach to my freshman year at North Carolina State University College of Engineering. at the end of my freshman year, my GPA was 0.3 (yes, that is a zero).
i was way too immature at age 18 for college. at a large school, especially with freshman classes, you are a number not a name. no one cares if you attend class or not. in fact, that's just it *no one cares* about you.
if you don't attend class, you can't bullshit your way thru the exams and quizzes. even if you do attend, you will still need to study. the professor won't talk about everything that ends up on the exams.
i had to go home for a year and work in a factory. upon my 2nd start of college i did do better and graduated with honors.
point is... for me, the jump from High School to University felt like going from preschool to small business owner.
.... not to be all doom and gloom... *if* you do it *right*... it's friggin awesome! i want to return to academic life. i miss it. you'll learn more there than all your k-12 combined (exaggeration maybe, but it feels like that). and you have a sense of accomplishment that nothing can match.
Make sure you go to class. It may seem a little silly now, but you'd be surprised at how easy it will be not to go when attendance isn't mandatory. Going to class and actually paying attention is critical if you want to do well! A lot of people don't understand this. Going to college is your job, don't skip class and sit at home playing video games all afternoon!
Having been on both sides of the lecture podium here's my advice....
Work Smart: Get up every weekday and tackle your studies. Don't cram. It's both easier and less stressful to approach your studies like a regular task rather than something you have to lose sleep over every few weeks.
Find clubs and/or internships that apply to the ultimate goal. Grades aren't as important as experience. Your first employer out of college might look for them, after than it's what's on the resume. Find opportunities for experience.
Socialize: Hey meet new people. Have of college is leaving the nest to learn how to interact with new strangers. Get out there.
Socialize across cliques/stereotypes. Lots of cliques develop in college as kids can't figure out how to meet people and interact. It's an easy way to make new friends. Unfortunately most academic institutions encourage this. Try to break from this. This will provide you with a broader range of experiences in college and opportunities to make friends with people that aren't superficially identical to you. After college, you'll have a broader network base.
Nothing good happens after midnight. Any great ideas that pop up around this hour, avoid. Between exhaustion and whatever else, people start getting stupid around this hour. That doesn't mean run back to your room as the clock strikes 12. It's just a good time to not 'throttle things up' after a certain hour.
Getting wicked drunk isn't more fun than having a nice buzz. And it's more expensive and has greater repercussions.
Without dangerous behavior, enjoy the opportunities that a young man away from home can. You won't get a second chance a lot of the stuff.
Balance. Balance. Balance.
You will need to study. Find a group from the course who you fit with and can study with and study with them.
You will need to have fun. Find a group from your dorm, house, courses whatever that you fit with and have fun with them.
Balance the two. MOST of your time you should be studying, SOME of the time you should be having fun.
That being said. Unless you tested out of the lower level courses you will have to take some basic courses such as english, math, history, etc before you really get into your degree courses. In the lower level courses, even those from your major, you will be in a very large class. You will most likely only have contact outside of class with the Teaching Assistants. If they have study sessions go to those as they will be going over the course material. For each course get together with others to study the course material. Go over and over the homework until you understand it.
There will be drinking, sex, and drugs but please don't get caught up in this and let it take over your life. College is four years and will determine the rest of your life, unless you are really very lucky. Deal with the four years and then get out and make something of yourself.
What they do not tell you. Your biggest course and test will be managing your GPA you have to have a 3.5+ to be considered for all the good paying jobs.
What you major in matters allot.
IF you have the option for the harder science course and the easy course for non-science. Take the harder course. If you like science or engineering you are set. If you don't take those courses you will be blocked from science and engineering.
Take the minimum load until you transition your life. Do hit the books hard but realize the shift to on your own is tricky and will take time.
It is better to take longer then 4 years to get done with a higher GPA then 4 years and out with a bad one. The college is set up to get students through in 4 years. They don't really care how you do beyond getting Cs. You it is up to you to care about how you do in life. This is life.
Read 7 habits of highly effective people. Get a day planner, consider it part of your first term course.
Be highly effective, your grades will do better. If you can hit the books like a 8-6 job then you will have time to grow socially and keep good grades. If you party and cram you will not do well over the long haul.
If the homework is not busy work, IE you are practicing a new concept, do the homework and MORE until you GET IT and can explain it to someone who does not get it. Allot of time will be saved later not having to "remember" (Relearn) how to do what you studied earlier.
Dress well it will impress your professors and nudge your grades up and open doors closed to others.
+1 on taking the minimum load for full time. That transition is HARD on a lot of students.
I have some knowledge of UCSB, so:
1. Sunscreen is on sale right now at CVS. Buy lots.
2. Sunglasses! Concrete sidewalks and concrete buildings and SoCal sun are awful.
3. Keep your place, whether a dorm or whatever, clean. Life's just better that way.
4. Agree with Andrioux about making use of all resources available to you. You will be attending the largest university in the world. NO excuses about there not being a club for you, or not knowing how to research something, or needing advise about your major, or help with your computer, or anything. We've been seeing lots on AoM lately about such college hardships. I have minimal sympathy for people at small schools that don't have all the resources, free, on campus. I have no sympathy for UC students and the like.
I will try to add something that hasn't been said.
If you have friends from high school that you are going to school with don't feel pressured to be in their friend group unless you are already close. Same with your roommate I assume you will have. It is okay to be friends but you shouldn't feel obligated to be best buddies unless it feels natural.
Second, find out what is important to you as early as possible. Do this through joining clubs or going to events. If religion is important to you, find a good campus ministry or church(awesome food). If sports are important to you, find a group maybe in your dorm or with someone you know to make an intramural dodgeball or street hockey team. Same applies to anything. You will never find your passion unless you move yourself to find it.
Lastly, find out all the great artists and performances coming to your university. Chances are there will be brilliant composers, writers, and speakers coming to various departments or performance halls and tickets will be either cheap or free. You will appreciate having seen these people a ton in the future and they also make great opportunities to bond with friends or take a lady on a date.
On friends, you are no longer tied to the high school friends. Do make talk with the people in your Majors and make friends there. My memories of undergrad regarding friends are two fold. The social ones in the clubs and the school ones whom I did all nighters with. Among both there are a few I still keep tabs with. What I don't have is memories of twits I did not get a long with. Frankly you are free to be who you are and if some one is a jerk just stop talking with them and you are done.