I have something to admit–– as much as I love starting a new semester, I always struggle to get back into the swing of things. It's hard to go from lazy summer days to 8:00am lectures, but I've already been through six semesters of college so I have some tips for you guys! I'm by no means perfect and I don't make straight As every semester, but I do think the following things have helped me earn a killer GPA and stay (somewhat) sane.
Buy (and use) a planner
It's one thing to go out and buy a planner, and another to commit to using it. I personally write down assignments the minute they are assigned to me so I don't forget. Some people prefer to color code their planners, but I just jot things down. I've been using this planner for two years now (this agenda is only $20), and I swear by it.
Develop a healthy and normal sleep schedule
I find this to be incredibly important, especially when I am taking six classes in a semester and having to be up at 7:00am. It might seem appealing to stay up and watch just one more episode on Netflix, but there's a better chance that you'll feel like shit the next day if you do. It's extremely hard for me to naturally want to go to bed early, but I try to fall asleep around 11:00pm nightly during the school year.
For the love of god, eat breakfast
I loathe breakfast (eating super early in the morning is difficult for me), but I always thank myself when I eat it because I'm not hangry and I'm more energized. I usually stop by Starbucks and get a little something to eat with my green tea.
The little assignments count, so do them
The annoying, smaller assignments are the ones that can determine whether you get a B+ or an A- in a class. They are easy to put off, but you'll be thanking yourself for doing them at the end of the semester.
Take advantage of every extra credit opportunity
Even if you have the highest grade in the class, do the extra credit. The professor will think highly of you and it could keep you out of trouble later on in the semester!
Do the reading
I'm guilty of not always doing the reading–– I think everyone is. I do so much better when I actually make an effort to sit down and read through every single page assigned, even if it is a pain.
Start studying early in the semester
Getting an early start means less effort having to be put in later because you'll be on top of things. You'll be thanking yourself around exam time when you've outlined all of your chapters in advance and you finally have time to relax.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Please, please, please attend office hours if you need to. Please, please, please attend tutoring sessions if you need to. Don't wait until the last minute to get help, especially if you're really struggling in a class. Professors want to help you because it's their job to! Students tutor at the tutoring center because they are passionate about a certain subject–– they also want to help you! Don't be afraid or embarrassed to get help.
Find a balance between school and your social life
School is important, but having fun and decompressing is too. Find a good balance between the two to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out) and to keep your grades up. Read this post I wrote last year to see how I find balance!
Find study methods that work for you
Flashcards don't work for me at all–– I cannot explain why, but I find them to be an extreme waste of time. For me to effectively memorize my notes, I have to recopy them in their entirety (writing notes is also linked to better memorization and recall of information, FYI). If you're a college (or high school) freshman, use the first semester to find what works best for you!
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