Hello all, and welcome back to another term in academia offered to you by the hallowed halls of your university for the low, low price of your left arm and your first born child.
Since someone else is probably paying for most of your schooling (parents, scholarships, financial aid and loans, etc.) you might as well put their money to good use. So as we enter into another semester, I’m here to offer you some tips for doing just that.
1. Start with planning
Planning, as many of you may know, is a big part of my life. I was taught early on that knowing how to plan things well could put me at an advantage throughout my whole life. How does this apply to school? Great question.
First: On whatever website your school uses (Kentucky uses Canvas), there is probably an option to customize your dashboard. Do it. Pick a color for each class and stick with it. You’ll be grateful when you see something highlighted elsewhere in pink, and you know you made ECON230 pink.
Second: Buy an agenda. Even though it may be easier to put things in that neat little homework app you downloaded your freshman year, but you hardly ever use, writing hard copies makes more connections in your brain. I will swear, right hand on whatever Holy book you put in front of me, that you will remember due dates so much better once you write them down.
Third: Go through your syllabi and—yep! you guessed it!—write all your due dates down.
Fourth: Keep up with it. The only reason you’re probably losing points in your Introduction to Whatever class is probably because you keep forgetting to do the assignments on time.
2. Figure out a good workout routine
I know everyone says this, and you think, I just don’t have time! You do. If your gym is all the way across campus, take the bus. Even if you just do a ten-minute-stress-relief run, it’ll make your days a lot better, you’ll get more sleep, you’ll feel better, there’s really no down side.
3. Pick up a hobby
Let me clarify this: going out every night of the week is not a hobby. I’m talking about something you can do to take your mind off of school when you need it. Running could be a hobby, or maybe you like to draw or read or write. Maybe you’re a knitter. Find something that you can do when your stress levels get so high that you’re considering pulling out the hair that hasn’t already fallen out on its own.
4. Do things when you get them
If you're assigned something, do it that day. You'll have so much less stress in your life if you don't have assignments building up throughout the semester. Have reading that isn't due for two more weeks? Do it now, skim it right before that class, and you'll be set to go. It's the most simple thing you can do to get ahead of the game.
This is the most important. I have seen many college students that don't understand balance. If you have $75 in your bank account, it's not an excuse to go get a new piercing. Save it for a rainy day or a grocery run. If you go out every single night, and you wonder why your grades are suffering, take a step back and understand that that is why. Dial it back and balance the hours you're out with the hours you spend in the library. Drink water rather than the soda out of the machines in the dining hall. Eat at the dining hall instead of ordering food all the time... it's already paid for. Take classes that are required, but don't forget to take classes you like. Take a nap, but don't sleep through your classes. Everything can be balanced. Your life will generally improve the more you balance it out.
Just a few things can make a difference in how your day, or even your year, will go. Make the most of the time you have in college, because quite frankly, college is too expensive to go to waste.