It’s the first day of classes here at my small, little campus…and it’s the start to my last semester. Cue tears. Considering I’ve spent a majority of my years in school, I’ve come to learn a lot of the tips and tricks to succeed at it. I’d like to think I’m a good student, and that’s something I’ve proud of. Here’s my tips for success:
Get A Planner
I kid you not, it’s a lifesaver. I had one all throughout high school and when I came to college I thought I could survive without one…WRONG. It was about two weeks before I caved and bought one from the bookstore. Not only is important to have the planner, but actually keep it organized. What I usually do is use the big calendar pages for things work, organization meetings, and events on campus. I like to highlight these too and color coordinate them (Student Government meetings are blue, Alpha Sigma Tau meetings are green, etc.) Then on the week pages I put the school work I have to do each day. I check it off once I complete it, which always makes me feel accomplished and motivated to keep going.
Read The Syllabus
It has all the major dates listed right there. Right when you get it, highlight the dates of exams or important due dates. Put those in your planner too! The syllabus will also have important info life office hours, the grading scale, the attendance policy, and sometimes it even has extra credit opportunities hidden in there.
Do The Hardest Work First
If you have a lot on your plate, do the hardest and most time consuming stuff first. When you sit down to begin your work, that’s when you’re the most motivated. Think of it like cooking a meal. You start by cooking whatever takes the longest first, right? You wouldn’t want to make the easiest stuff and then have it go cold waiting for the longer dish. Get the hard, long stuff out of the way.
Find Your Study Space (Away From Home)
Don’t study at home while watching TV or lounging in your bed. Find a place away from home that you know you’ll be productive in. For me, that’s the library at our school. But it could literally be anywhere for you. Maybe your academic building, a lobby, a coffee shop. Just make it away from home so that you can distinguish work time and fun time.
Go To Office Hours
If you are ever confused, don’t be afraid to go to office hours. The one on one time helps immensely. Plus, it shows your professor that you actually care.
Take the VARK Assessment
The VARK Assessment is something that tells you what kind of learner you are. It stands for the four types: Visual, Aural, Reading, Kinesthetic. I personally am a kinesthetic learner, meaning I learn by associating things with movement. Now when I study I often use certain body movements to remember things. Take this and it will help you figure out the best ways for you to study.
Eat Smart & Be Active
I know sometimes you are just too tired to wake up early and workout, but you should really try to do it when you can. It will help start your day on the right track. Try to eat smart too. Remember what you eat is literal fuel for your day. As you eat, remember what you are putting into your body and what its doing for you. Research “brain foods” that you can eat when you know you’ll need the extra focus for school.
Make A Goal & Write It Down
Last semester my goal was to get a 4.0. I unfortunately did not get a 4.0, but I still got a pretty good GPA! I had all As and A minuses, which is awesome because I almost always have had at least one B. I think what helped me was seeing my goal of getting a 4.0 each day. I wrote myself a note and put it on my bulletin board to remind me of my goals. Make a goal for the semester, write it down, and remind yourself of it everyday.
A planner will help you stay organized with your schedule, but make sure your class material is organized too. Get a binder for MWF classes and a binder for TR classes (if that’s how your schedule works) and use dividers in the binder to have sections for each course. Having one binder will help you keep it all together whenever you need to pull something out to work on. Having all your material in one places makes it easier!