Tips for Success

By: Emma Morris, Agricultural Communications Senior

The following blog outlines some tips for surviving and (hopefully) thriving at Cal Poly during your transition from high school and will serve you well throughout your college career. While these tips are relatively general—perhaps even obvious—it’s easy to lose sight of the obvious when your world changes so drastically.  It’s good to be reminded that everyone is going through the same thing and we’re all just pretending to be adults together. I tried to make these tips as universal as possible, but by no means am I an expert, so make sure to find what works for you to be successful and run with it.


  1. Get involved.

I’m sure I’m the first person to tell you this, right? Right. The College of Agriculture and Cal Poly in general are absolutely amazing at encouraging involvement. It helps that there are literally endless opportunities for you to join a club or group based on your interests or simply out of curiosity. It may even seem overwhelming. But trust me, clubs will change your life. Class ice breakers are a weak foundation for friendship, but club involvement is a great way to make friends and meet people like you (or people you aspire to be!). Try a handful of clubs, pick your top two or three, and stick with them for a while.

  1. Invest in a planner of some kind.

Again, I’m the first person to tell you this, right? Seriously, planners help keep you organized, and organization is KEY in scholastic success—if that’s something you’re interested in. I have a monthly planner where I write down important things like club events and tests, but I also love to-do lists. It took me two years in college to figure out my favorite method: I keep a weekly checklist on the notes app in my laptop with subheadings for each of my classes and clubs. I list everything that needs to get done for that particular class or club for the week and check it off as I do it. Works great. Feels great.

  1. Go to class.

…duh? It’s just so tempting to skip sometimes. Especially 7 or 8 a.m.’s. But I’m telling you, just go. The quarter system is fast-paced and unforgiving. Exams creep up much faster than you’d think, and before you know it, it’s dead week and you have no idea what’s going on in class. Plus, you (or some kind soul) paid a lot of money for you to be there. Why waste it? Not to mention many professors offer credit for attending class. And aren’t you just so eager to LEARN?! Go to class.

  1. Find an outlet.


Clubs are a great outlet, but it’s good to find a recreational outlet or two as well. SLO has so much to offer and so does Cal Poly. I personally love to explore the hikes and hammocking spots in the area, but there are so many different ways to recreate around here. Cal Poly offers trips through Poly Escapes ( several times each quarter which are always awesome and affordable. Or you could invest in some arts and crafts materials and spend an evening crafting—it’s hugely relaxing. The bottom line is don’t take school and life too seriously; try to do something fun a couple times a week.


  1. Don’t overcommit.

This may seem contradictory to getting involved, but the two are actually quite congruous. If you want to do well in school, maintain a social life, be involved in clubs, and not be a zombie, you have to choose what you’re most passionate about and stick with that. Try a bunch of clubs at the beginning of the year, but don’t try to hold an office in each one of those clubs. You’ll find that it’s very easy to overcommit and then let one aspect of your life (whether it’s school, friends, family, etc.) slip off.  It’s an elusive balance to strike, so don’t worry if you find that you’ve overcommitted. It happens all the time. Just be conscientious of what you agree to do and try to follow through on those things.

There are my tips for success! Good luck in your first quarter and remember to call or text your parents, no matter how much they may say they’re happy to have you out of their house.

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