Five Tips for College

I’m not so good at getting involved in the social life of my school, if that’s what you want tips on. However, I am now in my junior year of college, and have gotten all As, except for in one class. So, here are a few things I think might help you achieve your academic goals.

Old-Picture-University-of-pennsylvania

1. Focus on the projects in front of you, instead of letting yourself be overwhelmed by all the work that’s coming. During the first week of classes, professors often go over the entire syllabus to let you know what will be required of you during the 16-week class. This has been known to cause people to freak out. In my experience, it makes it feel like you’ll be doing a lot more work than you actually will be doing. Generally, you’ll have 16 weeks, but talking about it all right away can make you feel like you have a lot less time. This week already I’ve had several professors discuss the final exam with us, during the first class session. Talk about pressure. Don’t let it get to you. Focus on doing a good job with the work that’s next.

2. Choose partners wisely. When there’s a group project that’s required, I kind of like to spy out the class and see who’s going to do the work and who’s not. It’s pretty easy to tell. Be active when it comes to teaming up, not passive. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you’ve never spoken to before. Chances are they want a good partner also.

3. Listen to the professor, and do what is required of you. I know. This seems really obvious. But I’ve observed a lot of people who have made presentations or written papers that just don’t fulfill the professor’s requirements. Either they turn it in late, it’s not long enough or short enough, parts are missing, etc. Read the syllabus, listen to what the professor says, and ask questions if you’re unsure about the parameters of an assignment. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors if you need help. Also, many colleges have tutoring labs; if you’re having trouble with a particular subject, take advantage of them.

4. Find a rhythm and a method of organization that works for you. What I mean by rhythm is that each class has a different feel and expectation, and each class will require a different timeline for assignments. Most of my classes have a lot of reading. In order to make sure the reading is fresh in my mind, I have to read it the day of the class or the night before, if the class is in the morning. As far as methods of organization, weekly planners work for most people. I, on the other hand, keep track of class dates and times on my computer/phone calendar, and I keep track of assignments on a note that stays permanently on my laptop desktop. Every semester is going to change the way you approach learning, so realize that the method you used in high school or the last year of college might not work for you this year.

5. Don’t lose sight of the really important things. With college, everything feels so urgent. This assignment is due this day, this test is this day. Don’t forget about the things that are less urgent most of the time, but are more important all of the time. For example, your relationship with God. Your family. Your church. They can all so easily be pushed aside because there’s no professor reminding you every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 A.M. to pay attention to them. Take moments to evaluate your life and ask yourself what important things you are neglecting.

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