I’m aware that it’s the end of the school year. I am also aware that most of you reading this have switched to “summer-mode” and the last thing that you want to be thinking about is school.
But hear me out.
I love sharing things with people. That is one of the reasons that I have started this blog. And I consider myself to be a pretty successful college student. So my hope is that you would not only read this and get some good ideas but that you would remember this post next fall and return to it.
I want to give you something of value to use in the future when your life is falling apart because you have three exams that you haven’t studied for, you’re starving, and sleep deprived.
Think of this post as a repository of sorts.
Without further ado, here are my super secret tips on how to be a successful college student.
Tip #1: Set Some Freakin’ Goals
Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” The same rings true in college. If you don’t set goals, then you will have nothing to direct and guide you. When you write down your goals you are essentially saying, “This is a priority for me.” When goals and priorities direct you it’s more difficult for procrastination to sneak up on you. I like to break up my goals into two categories: Academic and Professional. I would say that three to five goals are appropriate for a semester. #CollegeGoals
Tip #2: Ditch The Planner
For real. We are in the digital age. Stop luggin’ around that planner and switch to your mobile device. Whether you use Google calendar or some crappy Apple calendar is fine. The facts are that many college students already use their phones for a ton of other things (social media, mobile banking, email, etc.). It’s more convenient to have everything centralized on your phone. Plus, you can set reminders for important assignments, presentations, or meetings. It’s the smart thing to do. Really.
Tip #3: Map Out Your Assignments For The Semester
This way, no assignments or presentations can sneak up on you. When you don’t know when your assignments are due it causes stress (duh) and it mentally taxes you. When you have your assignments written down it allows you to think more creatively and compartmentalize your stress. Ultimately, you will be stressed out about school. However, with an assignments schedule, you are deciding when you will be stressed out about it.
Tip #4: Create An Hour-by-Hour Weekly Schedule
If you don’t master the time that you have, then it will master you. Schedule specific times to study. Put the phone away and focus on the work in front of you. Trust me, when you focus on your work you will accomplish twice as much as you do when you listen to music or watch Netflix and study. As you can see, I also have a lot of time that I don’t have anything scheduled. That is intentional and meant for spontaneity. As much as we need structure we also need times to unwind and enjoy leisure.
Tip #5: Treat College Like a 9-5
This was one of the most helpful tips that I’ve received all year. Treat school like your future career. Not just in the quality of work that you produce but also in regards to how much time you spend on school work. I typically schedule most of my classes for the mornings and afternoons. Once I am done with classes at 2 pm I head to the library until 5 pm to work on anything that I need to that day. I find that this keeps the momentum going from classes. Also, I tend to feel less productive and more lazy after dinner time (my assumption is that you do too). Completing my assignments before 5 pm ensures that I’ve done quality work and that I have the rest of the evening to do as I please. Win!
Tip #6: Assignments + Sticky Notes = Success!
Research has found that when people write down their thoughts on a piece of paper and then throw the paper away, they mentally discard the thoughts as well. This is not only good for your mind but there is also something satisfying about crumpling up a piece of paper with a big assignment written on it in victory. I write out all of my assignments and readings for the week and post them where I can see them. Then as I complete each assignments I throw that sucker in the trash. It’s very rewarding.
Tip #7: Keep Track Of Your Class Skips (Or You Will Regret That You Didn’t)
This tip is pretty much a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people over skip. I write down how many skips I’m allowed and how many skips I’ve used just as a visual reminder.
Tip #8: Sleep and Eat Right
Sleep deprivation in students has been linked to lower GPAs because sleep affects concentration, memory and the ability to learn. Combine that with not eating properly and it’s no wonder the average college student feels like she’s losing her mind. Get seven and a half hours of sleep each night and eat three meals a day. It’s good for you and good for your mind. ‘Nuff said.
So there you have it! Those are my super, secret tips on how to be successful in college. My hope is that you would consider applying at least one of these tips to your life. They really do help!
Have some good tips of your own? Let me know in the comments section!
–Tyler W. Hanna