I was a good student in high school, and I like to think I’m one in college, too. This said, there’s some not-so-subtle differences in studying for each level. Here’s some tips I learned (mostly the hard way) during freshman year.
- Sleep is important.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Sleep in college. It’s okay to stay up with your friends every now and then on the weekends, but school nights mean catching some Zs. The tricky part is to get all of your work done so that you can sleep worry-free.
- There is no such thing as “not enough time”.
It’s a lie, invented by crafty procrastinators like myself. It’s not that you don’t have time to write an essay; it’s that you prioritized binge watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix. Be sure to prioritize your homework so that you can have some free time and time to sleep.
- Stay organized.
I don’t think I can tell you how to organize your things, because everybody’s brain works a little differently. What I will say is to stick with what you know works. In high school, I used binders and loose leaf paper. Last semester, I tried to switch over to notebooks and folders. It was an awful idea. I could never remember to bring the right notebook to class, and the folders were an unorganized mess. This semester I found a bunch of back-to-school sales and bought cheap binder tab dividers, loose leaf paper, and binders. That way, I have a starkly different binder for each class so I don’t bring the wrong one, and I can organize my papers better. Do what works for you.
- Pick a routine that works for you.
Not a morning person? Me neither. Don’t plan to study in the AM. Don’t believe that you’re going to pick up at 6 in the morning and go for a jog. Plan your routine realistically. Try to avoid nine AMs and morning showers. I scheduled my classes for later and invested in a coffee maker.
- Don’t study in your dorm/apartment.
In my apartment, I’m always tempted to do something other than my essay, like talk to my roommate, do the laundry, watch Netflix, or start baking muffins. In the library, however, I work until my homework is done, and I stay focused. Find a place where you can do the same thing. I love the library, but my roommate prefers a coffee shop. Just find the environment where your brain focuses the best and stick to it.
- Actually do the reading.
I had an ethics class that was an easy A so as long as you at least skimmed the weekly reading. The people that skipped it constantly were not doing so hot. I know a few failed. So keep up with the recommended reading!
- Go to class.
I know that your professor is useless, but participation is a huge part of your grade. Not to mention they tend to remind you about upcoming quizzes and tests. I promise class is worth your time. (You’re also paying a lot of money for each lecture!) Students that show up get brownie points. Just do it.
- Keep a planner.
Actually use your planner. Whether an online system or old school, make it a habit to fill out so you don’t space the little assignments. When you think you’ve finished your work, double check with your planner.
- Communicate with your professor.
If you don’t understand something, ask questions, or go to office hours. Just make sure you’re really learning the material. This sounds simple enough, but I wish I did it more my freshman year, and I’m certainly planning to do it this year!
- Drink lots of coffee.
I’m just kidding. Sort of. I’m just, like, really addicted. Please don’t judge me. It helps me work, I swear.
But what about you? Do you have any tips for college newbies? Any questions? Let me know in the comments down below. Like this post and follow my blog if you want to make me smile. Peace out or whatever.