The Current’s Declassified School Survival Guide


College students often find themselves overwhelmed. The Current offers a declassified school survival guide to help students make it through spring 2020 at American River College. (Photo Illustration by Emily Mello)

Oden Taylor

If you have no idea how you’re going to get through the next 15 weeks, don’t stress and instead try out this advice from our spring 2020 declassified school survival guide.


1. Get to School at Least 30 Minutes Early Everyday 

The parking lot fills up fast and there can be many distractions along the way when trying to get from car to class. Be sure to prepare for anything, even the worst, and arrive at school at least 30 minutes early every day. This also allows for time to grab coffee or food before class and can help you prepare for what your day has in store. Not only will this help you, but your professors will thank you as well.  


2. Visit a Counselor ASAP

You may have heard this before and are probably thinking, “I don’t want to wait in that line” or “I know what classes I need this semester.” However, regular visits to your counselor are a crucial part of being successful in school. Choosing the correct classes for your desired major or to transfer, can be a huge challenge if you try to do it yourself, and the counselors are there as a free service to students to help set us on the right path. The counselors can help set up personalized educational plans and inform you about programs and scholarships you might want to get involved in. For Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) students there is a separate counseling office located next to the library.   


3. If You Don’t Like a Class, Drop It Now!

At the beginning of the semester, most students tend to overestimate how much they can handle or have a desire to learn something new. Within the first few classes, you should have an understanding of whether or not the class is right for you. It is much better to drop before the second week of school ends and not receive a W on your transcript. W’s will follow you forever and could prevent some colleges from accepting you. However, dropping and receiving a “W” is still much better than receiving an F, which will lower your GPA and can mess up financial aid. The last day to drop with a W is Sunday, April 19.  


4. Get Involved With a Club or Activity on Campus

College is not like high school and some students struggle to make friends and feel comfortable at school. Joining a club, sport, or interactive class that provides field experience, such as the newspaper, can help you keep your motivation and have fun at school. Not only will you find like-minded individuals that could become friends, but you will also have extracurricular activities to add to job and college applications. Get out there and find something to do.  


5. Never Trust the Starbucks Line, You Will be Late for Class!

The Starbucks in the Student Center is not a regular Starbucks. It is owned and operated by the same company that runs the school cafeteria, Aramark. Aramark’s policies are different than Starbucks’ and because of that, this location is constantly out of popular and seasonal items, which in itself can hold up the line. In addition to this, rewards points and gift cards may not be used, which many customers are unaware of. Keep in mind this Starbucks is not only visited by students, but also faculty and visitors to the campus as well. You will be better off getting coffee before school or driving out to a different coffee shop.     


6. Vending Machine Locations

While the food on campus from the cafeteria, the Oak Cafe in the culinary department and Tandori Bites in Portable Village is tasty, it can often be pricey and the lines can be very long. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to eat, but time or money is limited, head to one of the many vending machines around campus. The vending machines can be found in the science department, two areas within the gym, and an area by admissions/counseling that offers snacks and a hot coffee machine. Quite possibly the campuses best kept secret vending machines are located on the right side of Davies Hall (coming from Portable Village). Not only does this area have a refrigerated vending machine containing Lunchables, sandwiches and muffins, but there is also a Starbucks vending machine with thirteen different drink options making it extra easy to skip the lines in the Student Center.   


7. Focus On Your Health

The best way to pass a test is to prepare. Not with the typical cramming every chapter of a book in your brain right before the test, but instead prepare yourself by relaxing. Pay attention in class and study along the way. On the day of your exam, make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and drink water. Reflect on the things you know you will be tested on and breathe. Focusing on your health will not only help you pass your classes but also prevent you from getting too overwhelmed as the semester goes on.


8. Take Your Time 

The biggest lie you will ever hear about community college is that you have to complete it within two years. For most students that try, this is a hefty goal that leads most to feel overwhelmed and some to drop out altogether. Your college experience is about you, and you should take the time you need to complete the classes you want to take and learn as much as possible. If you’re looking to obtain an associates degree, go at a pace that feels right for you. If you are transferring, know you do not have to transfer immediately and your credits are still transferable up to 10 years after taking classes at most schools. Be sure to visit a counselor to ensure you are on the right path to your desired university in a time frame that works for you.