Whether you’re juggling a job and attending a university, one universal trait that college students can commune on is the ability to maintain a strong semester. It’s tiresome, even those who attend universities with a quarter system, or perhaps a trimester system. It’s extremely difficult to maintain your strong momentum, starting and ending strong without getting lazy. It is just as easy to begin the semester strong as it is to end the semester on a week note, and vice versa, of course. At some points, you have meltdowns because another universal ideology that all college students universally share is that you want the best grade possible – whether it be a D, barely passing, or an A, being an successful student. While grades do not define you, in order to graduate from your undergraduate or graduate college, you must pass your classes. Let me be the first to say that getting good grades does not only make it financially fulfilling, but also personally fulfilling.
Finals and midterms seem like the most popular time to have these so-called “mental breakdowns,” as you have simply lost what seems like all of your motivation or care, snd finding yourself not wanting to keep up the excellent effort you have been putting forward. I am suggestible to these year-round, no matter how many classes I am taking, I am stressed because I want the best grade possible, without making silly mistakes.
Silly mistakes, such as forgetting a assignment, not being prepared for a midterm or exam, are things that should not hold you back. As my brother once told me, college is a numbers game – you do not want to a zero on your grade report. It is always beneficial to turn in “wrong work,” or an incomplete assignment, than it is to not turn it in at all. Zeros are bad – way worse than a 30%, which i have received in my collegiate career, because mythology goes that grading in college is much different than high-school and that great grades are harder to attain. My dad keeps telling me that I just need to pass the class, but another tip he told me was to study smart, stop obsessing over details.
Interestingly enough from the guy who gave me a mug that says “hardwork never killed anyone, so why try?” (aka my dad), I thought this was good advice. While it is important to do readings (yes, as you begin upper division classes reading is important as fudge), sometimes long readings and lectures cannot be fully consumed and it is important to learn to note the most important aspects of the articles. Details are important, but understanding and soaking up the material is much more manageable for studying and learnig purposes. Similarly, you can always go back to looking over details. Do remember to take good notes the first time however on your readings, lectures, videos, etc., so when reviewing them you do not need to re-read the entire document. Another important key to long readings and lectures is to do a portion of reviewing every day if possible. This will make finishing strong much easier, as you have been going over the material already.
Staying on top of things, not people, is the most important aspect in achieving your academic goals for your school year. Stay focused and keep the ball moving, not even letting a bad grade get in your way. As my friend told me today, hard work reaps benefits so do your best to constantly remind yourself of your end goal, which will lead to so much self-fulfillment you can sleep at night, or most nights.
Also, staying on top of things does not mean constantly procrastinating, but being able to meet the due date. As noted before, do a reasonable amounts of work every day to complete your weeks assignments, and perhaps you could also try to jumpstart ahead. Being ahead is never a bad thing, as long as you stay updated on the current information. So, do not forget to review current materials from your current lecture, while simultaneously working ahead.
A truly helpful tip is to try to go beyond memorizing the material and applying it to real life examples, or other classes. In order to truly succeed, internalizing information and truly understanding concepts is essential, or simply more self-fufillling. It most certainly takes more time to spend time understanding and digesting the material, but in the long-run, especially during finals week and midterms, it is important to understand the material beyond simple definitions.
An important aspect of success is tests, or exams. I will recommend making notecards, if it is applicable for the test. Perhaps, even utilizing Quizlet on your mobile phone or on your laptop. I find it easier for myself to write them out or utilize Quizlet on my phone. For those of you who are not familiar with Quizlet, it is an application that allows you to make digital notecards, allowing you to test yourself and play memory games with the terms or phrases that you are attempting to study. Since we spend so much time on our mobile applications, we may as well utilize an application that lets us study practically 24/7. Constantly reviewing notecards, through Quizlet mobile or online, or simply just reviewing your handwritten notecards will serve as completely beneficial in your memory skills. Quizlet is great, because it allows you to play games with your allotted terms and concepts noted on your notecards.
Word to the wise, for tests and exams, not only is it important to not cram, but it is important that where you study and where you take the exam is quiet, and most importantly, you are comfortable. Whether it be with a friend, alone at the library, etc., find somewhere where you can feel safe to study. For me, I enjoy renting out an individual study room at my local university library, studying at home alone – I find these places great environments to stay productive, as much as possible. Try to spend at least one day a week at the library, honestly, I would suggest more days. The more frequently you begin attending the library, the more likely you are to complete and do better academically. While studying at home, you are prone to many distractions and the library just forces you to sit there. If a library is not your scene, try a local coffee shop or a local library (not your school library), visiting these options allow for more ability to concetrate with much less distractions, because even the school library can get overwhelming seasonally.
Yes, it will suck in the moment, but I am taking it millisecond by millisecond, at the moment. Pushing myself beyond levels that I never knew I could be pushed to, but I do school for myself and try to make learning as enjoyable as possible. Sometimes, this is a problem as we all want to absorb all the material possible, but do not have time.
A grand, old, classic tip is to look at your syllabus ahead of time, staying updatd on current assignments, in order to know when things are coming up. I suggest looking at the entire syllabus, or maybe a month’s worth of work, and grabbing a planner and writing all this information down. Knowing what is to come ahead and when it is coming up is important and lets you plan ahead before the assignment is due. Maybe, once again, you can get a head-start on an assignment. Planners and calendars are reccommended.
This is when good time-management and prioritizing comes handy. Of course, sometimes circumstances come up, but it should be our goal to finish our obligations, whether we enjoy them or not. We signed up for them. Prioritizing is an extremely important lifeskill I am still learning. It is incredibly difficult, as time-management and priorities go hand-in-hand. I usually try to prioritize my hardest, most rigorous assignments immediately over smaller, less difficult assignments. This has proved to be the most efficient. Also, if you have smaller assignments that can be finished in a short amount of time and lack utter concentration – start them and try to complete them. This takes a lot of stress off your plate. Beginning assignments early and breaking them down is basically the underlying concept behind time-management. A to-do list or a calendar are useful to have around to remind you of what you need to get done for the week, or the month. This is also where planning gets involved. Planning, another important aspect of life, allows you the freedom to have a little less stress in your life, as you can plan obligations, schoolwork, etc. visually for yourself. Visual aids of things that need to get done allow you to tackle one thing at a time. If I have a lot on my plate, I make it a goal to at least accomplish 3 things off of my to-do list, minimum.
While you may spend hours grinding it at out on all your subjects, do not forget to eat, stay hydrated and take study breaks. These are all important in retaining information. Similarly, try to get your sleep schedule on a proper cycle, as that plays a big role in mood, behavior, and your academics. Sleep is important, as it recharges our internal batteries, just like good food does.
Also, think about laying off the booze and picking up some more sober activities. While a couple glasses of wine or a few beers never hurt anybody (this is a lie statistically – so, I apologize), there’s no need to go all out. These intense celebratory festivities can be partaken much less frequently and toward the end of the semester. Do not get me wrong – I am not not condoning partying. I love a great glass of red wine or a Kolsch, but I am simply not going to the club every night until 2 a.m. Talk about taking a toll on your bodily functions, life, responsibilities, mood, behavior – to. name a few. Lay off for a little, and save these times as celebrations. There’s no real reason you must be partying every night – it is possible and it is fun, but it just makes school that much more harder and stressful for me, at least.
You know how when you party you meet random strangers? I find this experience useful in classes, as they are utilized as a way to get to know the strangers, or other students, I will be spending the next few months learning from, sitting next to, etc. Think about it, as if you were in a party environment, drunk or sober. You usually form bonds with random strangers, this can be come extremely beneficial to have companions in class. In contrast to having friendships with strangers for one night, or one hour, you can build a relationship with fellow peers, who can help one another with school and life problems. It’s a 2 in 1 package deal that no one can pass op on.
Can you say relationship with professor – And, no i. do not mean an intimate one. I mean building a relationship with both the professor and the teacher assistant is also a vital key to maintaining consistency with your studies. Not only do you get to know them personally, but having access to resources who are willing to help is an incredible opportunity we need to utilize.This service is especially helpful when you are not understanding a concept within the class. Similarly, it shows effort in your part that you are trying beyond the means of jus the lecture, notes and books. Professors do not expect everyone to understand everything and they are there to help – they are very similar to academic advisors who provide resources of help about one’s degree, among other things. You should also build relationships with them and visit them at least once a semester. They offer free guidance and can help you finish your undergraduate degree in the most efficient way. Do not forget to utilize these people – they are your best friend. Friends are not generally afraid to ask other friends questions, are they? So, neither should you.
These are my tips for how to get through the tough times of college and I hope you enjoy!
What are your suggestions for succeeding in academics? Let me know.