The new semester is quickly approching. With this comes the stress of classes, homework, and studying…all while trying to maintain a social life and not going in to a complete depression. These are some tips I’ve thought up due to first-hand experiences.
1. Don’t Skip Class. It sounds like that’s an obvious thing, but people do it all the time. Sure, most campuses allow three absences per class, but that doesn’t mean you should take them. When you skip just one class you’ve missed an hour of material, and if you have terrible luck like I do, most of that material will be on the next exam. Or even worse, you could miss a pop-quiz that day.
2. Get Things Done Ahead of Time. I know that paper isn’t due until the week of finals, but if you don’t start it now you’re going to be rushing to get it done last minute along with the hours of studying you have to put it. This doesn’t just go for papers, either. Start assignments as soon as you get them. If they’re something you can get done easily, get it done immediately. Hand it in early. Not only will it make you look good, but it’ll make you feel like you’ve accomplished something too.
3. Make Lists. Post-it notes should become your best friends. Keep them next to your computer (if you’re reading this that probably means you spend a lot of time on it), that way while you’re checking Facebook in the morning you’ll know exactly what you need to get done that day. Cross things out as you do them.
4. Buy a Day Planner. Many people would say that these aren’t necessary anymore. We have smartphones that tell us exactly what we have to do when we have to do them, right? WRONG. If you’re like me, your calendar alarm goes off so much that you’ve just learned to forget about it. Day Runner has planners that let you write down what you need to do corresponding with the time you need to do it. If you don’t want to splurge on one of those, your campus may give out free pocket-sized ones at the bookstore.
5. Eat Healthy. Chances are if you’re living on campus you’re going to be spending a lot of time eating in the cafeteria. The endless buffet of pretty much anything you want may seem appetizing, but it’s really killing you in the academic world. Constantly eating the bad stuff at the caf- pizza, ice cream, chicken nuggets, etc., will slow you down. When you eat healthy you’re more likely to perform better in class…and you probably won’t go into a food coma after lunch.
6. Pick a Time to Study. Your brain works best at certain times of the day – it can remember/recall things better, can think more critically. Figure out when this time is for you and use that time to study. For me it’s mid-morning. I’ll eat my breakfast and study before my classes start. Once you figure this out and get in the pattern of studying at this time, things will get a lot easier.
7. Make Time For Friends. Everyone needs social interaction. Without it, we all become a little crazy. Pick a day to eat lunch with a friend during the week, have a movie night, make sure you’re having fun on the weekends.
8. Use Campus Resources. They’re there for a reason. Need homework help? See a tutor. Want someone to proofread your paper? Visit the school writing center. These people know what they’re doing and want to help out. It could help your grade go from a D to an A…that sounds pretty good to me.
9. Don’t Take Three Hour Naps. College kids love sleep. I know I do. Unfortunately there really won’t be time in your schedule for super long naps. Usually when you wake up from them you don’t want to do anything, anyway. BUT, short naps are okay. In fact, studies show that if a student takes a 15-30 minute nap immediately after a class, they will retain the information they learned during that class more easily.
10. Keep Busy. This may not work for everyone, but I know a lot of people (myself included) are better at getting things done if they constantly have things going on. I usually have three classes a day and then go to work every night. I know that I have to get things done between the time I go to classes and the time I go to work, because when I get out of work at 12:30am I’m not going to want to do anything.
Maybe this isn’t the most professional advice ever, but these are things that helped me become a better student. Maybe they’ll work out for you, too.