Looking back over the last semester, it’s crazy how much I learned in a few short months. Not only in my classes, but just about college in general and how to be successful in such a competitive atmosphere. Here are 10 tips that will help all those new high school grads out there who might be feeling uneasy about heading off to school!
10. Study every. single. day.
And study every subject every day. This seems intimidating, but the amount of information that you’ll be flying through in college is substantial. Cramming is simply stressful and ineffective. In high school, as long as you do your homework and look over the info before the test you’ll be okay, but not in college. Do you homework and also map out an hour or two a day for studying every subject on your own. You’ll feel on top of everything and not stressed!
9. Map out your time
I used iCal on my iPad and had a color coded plan for my week, every week. Each class was a different color and I put in the times I’d be in class, the times I’d study for each class, my workouts, my work schedule, my volunteer schedule, and social events too! Knowing that you’ve made time for everything allows you to focus on what you’re doing without thinking about all the other things you need to get done.
8. Make To-Do lists
Sitting down to study is ineffective unless you have a clear goal of what you want to accomplish during this study session. Do you need to re-read the chapter, do 20 practice problems, memorize the powerpoint slides? Write it down and cross it off when you finish it, you’ll feel so good getting to cross it off the list!
7. Set a timer when you study
There are so many things to distract you from getting what you need to get done, done. I would put my phone in a drawer on “do not disturb” mode and set a timer for 1 hour. When the timer went off I’d take a 10 minute break to check texts, maybe see what’s up on twitter, ect. It was easier to focus in when I knew there was a break coming.
6. Find a new place to study every couple days
There are hundreds of tiny study spaces tucked away on campus and even more coffee shops and bookstores available for you to get your work done. Having a different place to go makes homework a little more exciting and keeps each day from seeming mundane.
5. Go to office hours with every question
If you don’t know how to do something, don’t put it off until right before the test. Chances are you’ll need to know how to do it in order to understand the next things you’ll be learning in lecture. I would even go in if I got all the answers right but just wasn’t 100 percent sure why! Not only does this improve your understanding of the material, but it also shows your professor that you care and are working hard. They are willing to work with you and will sometimes give you tips you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
4. Learn from every test, figure out what you missed and why
Did you miss the problem because you don’t understand that material? Go in to a tutor and figure it out so it doesn’t mess you up again on the final. However, a lot of the questions I missed on early tests weren’t because I didn’t know the material, but because I was so nervous that I wasn’t thinking clearly and made a silly mistake. You not only need to learn how to do the class, but also how to take the tests. Go slow, don’t be nervous, and skip problems you don’t know and come back to them. Once I stopped getting so nervous, my grades improved substantially.
3. Nourish your body to improve your mind
Let’s face it, studying is about the last thing you want to do when you’re in a sugar coma, hungover, exhausted, or feeling crappy. Eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep improve brain function and give you the energy you need to succeed in all your activities. Plus, a healthy lifestyle banishes a lot of stress from you life.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
There will always be those people that the class comes easily to, and sometimes they just can’t help but share. Oh, you just cannot believe that people actually have to study for chemistry?
It’s easy to look at people like that and feel stupid. You can get just as good of a score as them, so what if it takes more work for you? They are the exception, and everyone has talents. It doesn’t have anything to do with your chances for success.
1. Allow yourself to be a beginner
This one was the biggest realization for me. No matter how many AP classes you took in high school, college is a whole new ball game. Especially a rigorous university like UT. I had so much self doubt at the beginning of the semester because I felt completely out of my league and I didn’t know if I could hack it. When I did poorly on my first tests, I called my mom crying and told her I wasn’t sure if I could be a doctor because I did not think I was smart enough.
But then I decided that I wasn’t going to get “weeded out” by the classes that cause so many people to change their major. I buckled down, learned from my mistakes, worked hard, and ended up getting straight A’s!
Remember that everyone before you had to figure all of this out too. One test isn’t the end of the world. You’ll continue to make mistakes, you’ll continue to learn from them, and you’ll continue to grow as a person. Isn’t that the point of college in the first place? Have faith in yourself!!
I hope these tips help you in some small way!!