College is meant to be a memorable experience, and you should make the most out of it while you can.
Thatâ€™s great advice that Iâ€™ve heard one too many times, but few people actually explain how to be a productive student. Here are some tips that I picked up after years of school:
1. Get Organized
With four to six classes, a part-time job, extra activities, exercise and a social life to fit in one week, things can become real overwhelming real fast. I learned to control my schedule by keeping everything organized.
Make to-do lists, and maintain a calendar of assignments. Write down your class schedule and tack it up in plain sight. Separate your course documents into different folders, and keep your room and desk area clear. The more organized your life is, the easier it is to accomplish tasks and avoid stress.
2. Be Present
The point of going to college is to learn more so you can be successful in your chosen field, but you donâ€™t learn much when you aren’t in class. Save those sick days for when you really need them, and motivate yourself to hop out of bed. If you calculate how much each hour of class really costs, sometimes youâ€™re paying hundreds of dollars for that hour of slacking off. It would be like ordering an expensive meal and then not eating it. Itâ€™s really a waste of money to skip.
Of course, being present doesn’t mean just sitting in a chair. Actively engage in class discussion. Donâ€™t be afraid to ask questions or give answers because thatâ€™s how you learn, and trust me, professors respond better to an enthusiastic classroom over a sea of bored faces.
3. Develop Good Study Habits
Your workload nearly doubles in college, so itâ€™s important to master good studying habits right away. Every person is different, so find a method that works for you.
Place yourself in a quiet environment and eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone, internet and television, and donâ€™t study with a group unless youâ€™re all from the same class. Try multiple methods such as flash cards, rewriting your notes, acronyms or saying the information out loud.
4. Get Enough Sleep
I broke this rule constantly until I learned how important it is. Without proper sleep, you could have trouble focusing as well as increased anxiety, weight gain and risk of illness.
DrSnooze suggests creating a sleep schedule and sticking to it. Itâ€™s fine to stay out late every once in a while, but donâ€™t make it a habit. Get your work done early, and put off relaxing activities like television or video games until bedtime.
5. Eat Healthy
As a freshman, my new meal choices were between what I bought at the grocery store and what the dining hall served in its all-you-can-eat buffet. Unlimited pizza, soda and ice cream may tempt you, but they only give you short bursts of energy, not nearly enough to conquer your day.
Make wise choices when it comes to food. Try to eat a balanced diet with meat, fruits and vegetables, and cut back on the junk food. Instead of chips or candy, pick up apples or granola bars when you go grocery shopping. Eating healthy gives you more energy to do your work and prevents you from gaining the dreaded freshman 15.
6. Look into School Services
Many schools offer services dedicated to helping you, and sometimes theyâ€™re free. Search your schoolâ€™s website for the different types of service available.
Health centers often provide counseling or medical care. Librarians assist students with their research by finding them sources. Writing and tutoring centers can help you with papers and studying. Any of these are worth a try, especially if youâ€™re struggling to get things done.
7. Make Time for Fun
In all that seriousness, I wish someone had told me to lighten up and relax. Having fun at school is equally important for relieving stress and creating a memorable college experience, so go out on the weekends. Socialize. Make sure it doesnâ€™t distract from your studies, but make sure you find time to laugh and enjoy all that school has to offer. Youâ€™ll be less stressed and more productive.
Â Written by UWW CoBE Alumnnus Steve Nash