With the fall semester starting up, I decided to write this blog post on the most important habits that have helped me reach a 4.0 average. College can become a difficult time, for numerous changes begin to take place. Changes such as being away from your family, supporting yourself , learning new study habits, working, compromising with roommates, and trying to make new friends in a new city( in some cases even state) it can all be an overload especially the first semester. So here are a few of the things I’ve learned that have been of great help in the couple years I’ve been in college.
Lets start with the very first week.
Do not underestimate the first week of school. Sure it is a generally an intro, nothing is due and it only comes with soft lecture. Although, this is the time to take into your advantage.
- Look over your syllabus in the course and write down important due dates on your planner
- Double check what you need to focus on in the course to get the letter grade you are aiming for
- Remember every professor runs their class differently. The 1 excused tardy may be in one syllabus but not the other. Make sure you know your professors expectations for that class to avoid any future mishaps.
- Check what the professor is focusing on by percentage. If 60% of the grade is based on those online quizzes, make sure to prioritize them through out the course!
Its quite treacherous to underestimate the power of a planner. This is what will keep every dead line in one place rather than constantly checking your grade book for upcoming due dates, or even worse, going by memory. Additionally, Once you know when everything is due, you will have a general idea of when to start the task. Start dates are just as important as due dates. Setting a specific time to start an assignment will prevent procrastinating, and the stress of a time crunch. Additionally, it will give you the opportunity to edit and look for any improvements before you have to hand it in.
Stay a couple steps ahead
Life gets busy and throws curveballs sometimes, that is why staying ahead has saved my grades a few too many times through out college. For one of my courses last semester, I had a quiz due every sunday of the week. Additionally, most of my course average depended on those quizzes. I decided to read a couple chapters ahead and get the some of quizzes out of the way. Generally, I would stay 3 weeks ahead of the original due date. That way if I had other things pop up I could skip the quiz of the week and still be a couple weeks ahead of the course schedule!
A prioritized to-do list
Don’t forget to prioritize what comes out to be the most important.
- what dead line is sneaking up?
- what is going to count more towards your grade?
- what task will be more time consuming?
Once you get the most dreaded piece of work out of the way , the rest will become much simpler.
Don’t forget to make time for yourself
Your physical and mental health overrides anything that may put it at risk. If you need a step back , take it. So if you decide on missing a 50 minute lecture because you needed to sleep in, or simply ordering pizza because you can’t find the energy to make a nutritious meal for dinner, don’t feel bad in doing it. And no, I do not mean going out until 2 am and then missing your 8 am. What this means is when youre constantly working, studying, attending lectures, working on assignments, being a mother to a furry friend, trying to maintain a social life, or even better; all of the above. It becomes easy to feel mentally exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, staying on top of things is vital and we should always try our best in doing so, but sometimes our body can only lift so much weight. So, its better to not exceed the limit.
Find your balance
Sometimes you will find yourself focusing on some subjects more than others when it comes to juggling certain elements. There will be multiple instances where you will have to end up canceling dinner with friends because you need more time to study. Or maybe maybe you can make a switcheroo and offer a study date instead of dinner! Though, if you decide to go out on a two hour dinner; its important to consider that it will detain studying that could’ve been done, and minimizes the sleep you will be getting the night before your test. It all comes down to what you find best in your scenario. The important thing is that you don’t overwhelm yourself.
Make sure to get to know at least one person in each class. If you’re an introvert like me, don’t worry this doesn’t mean becoming best friends and studying together for every class quiz. BUT if you have at least one contact from each class you’ll have someone who will keep you updated with the lecture notes if you happen to miss a class. Also, if there are any additional questions about homework, quizzes, reports you will have have at least one person to ask! Of course I always recommend emailing your professor for confirmation if you feel its necessary.
DO NOT PULL ALL NIGHTERS-I used to wait until the previous night to study and get about 2 hours of sleep to 0 sleep before the test..big mistake. I regretted it every time; not only because of how tired I was, but absorbing over a month worth or lectures in one night can be the most pressured and stressful task. So do yourself a favor and don’t put yourself through it. Instead, I now wait between 10-7 days before the actual test to start looking over my notes, quizzes and reviews. Additionally, studying for 30 mins and taking short 5 minute breaks has shown to work more effective. We all have our own methods; so once you find your own, studying will become less of a drag.
I know it can be a challenge to maintain healthy habits in college, but it is important to be attentive of how youre taking care of your body.
- are you getting the exercise your body needs?
- are you feeding your body right?
- are you getting enough rest?
My suggestion to you is to at least get 8 hours of sleep MOST nights. if you avoid working out, go for a walk at least 3 times a week. If you dislike eating healthy, its better to eat moderately. Meaning if you have a burger for lunch, maybe make a yummy smoothie for dinner with an avocado turkey and cheese toast- super easy and super good!
Do not forget you need your body more than it needs you. Therefore make sure you are letting it get the rest its asking for. You will see a drastic difference when good sleep becomes a habit more than a luxury.