College is one big whirlwind of obligations, learning, social lives, and a smorgasbord of other things you have to keep track of. It seems like no matter how hard you try to divide your time evenly, one of your commitments isn’t getting the attention it needs.
As a soon-to-be second semester sophomore, I feel like I sort of have this whole college thing down. I know what works and what definitely doesn’t. That being said, I’m no expert! Everyone has their own experiences and ends up figuring out their personal recipes for success.
For those of you who don’t know where exactly to start, I’m providing you with a series on how I balance all of my commitments: academics, work, organizations, blogging, and a social life, all while trying to maintain a positive and healthy lifestyle. So without further ado, I present the first part of this series: Academics.
I’m not one of those people that takes academics lightly. I’m obsessed with my GPA, hate any grade lower than an A- in my major-related classes and anything lower than a B in anything else. Because of these high standards I set for myself, I need to make sure that I’m really applying myself. To do this, I set certain rules for myself to make sure I’m always on top of things.
Use an Agenda
I’m sure you’re all sick and tired of hearing me badger you about investing in a planner, but I will nag you about it until you decide to listen to me. When a professor announces an assignment, your first step should be to write it in your agenda. Also, write down whether it’s due online, via email, or in class because many professors aren’t too flexible about their turn-in policy.
The big thing to remember is that this isn’t high school. Your professors aren’t going to remind you about assignments, especially if they’ve been on the schedule since the beginning of the semester. You’re going to need to keep track of them yourself.
Get Your Work Done Early
If something is due Monday at 11:59 P.M., don’t start it on Monday at 11:00 P.M. In fact, get it done and turned in before Monday. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to get the homework done right when it’s assigned. Let’s be honest, that’s kind of ridiculous, especially if it’s a long assignment.
I have found that the best thing to do is turn in the assignment one or two days before it’s due. That should still give you plenty of time to complete it to the best of your ability and get it off your shoulders.
Schedule Your Work
So you have your agenda, you have your assignments and their due dates, so now what? Make a schedule for yourself! If your classes have a set assignment due each week, choose a day to work on them. This semester, I do accounting homework on Tuesdays, computer science on Wednesdays, and pre-labs for my textile science class on Thursdays.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have one day in your schedule cleared of any school obligations. My day is Saturday. Although I’m often working at my job on Saturdays, I know I don’t have to pack on any extra stress because I don’t have to think about school on those days.
Utilize Your Resources
Find yourself a good study space that isn’t your room. For me, that happens to be the library, but there are loads of other places around campus that could work better for you. Many buildings have study rooms built into them, and your student union building probably has a ton of awesome spots that not many people know about.
Talk to your professors! They know what they’re doing, and they can definitely help you out with any questions about course content that you might have.
There’s this thing you got at the beginning of the semester, and it’s called a textbook. It should have literally all the information you need to finish your work. If you’re in a hurry, the glossary and index are your best friends!
Last Minute Tips For Academic Success
#1. One bad test score doesn’t define you – We’re only human, a bad test score was bound to happen sometime. If you get an exam back with a letter grade that makes you cringe, take a step back and reflect. What could you do differently next time to get the grade you want? You will likely be able to achieve that with a little extra hard work!
#2. Schedule your classes close together – College is a magic place where we get to decide our own class schedule. Goodbye 8 am classes, it was nice knowin’ ya! One thing that helps my productivity is by making sure that my classes are grouped together in chunks, so that I don’t get out of *school mode* between my classes.
#3. Write all your notes on paper – It’s scientifically proven that we retain more information when we physically write things down, rather than type it on a computer or tablet.
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