So, I think it’s fair to say that a lot of new Stags are wondering how they’re going to get work done. Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t need to be that hard to be successful in college! It only takes a few simple steps that can make a really big difference.

Lifestyle

Getting work done in college is going to be a lot different than in high school. You’re on your own to get stuff done. But the good thing is that you’ve also got a lot more flexibility. Your overall school day is smaller and deadlines are longer, which is what most high schoolers dream of. With that, however, come some adjustments. Here are some things you should keep in mind when deciding on how you’re gonna get work done.

Know when your energy levels peak and when they dip.

Are you an early bird? A night owl? In any scenario, planning when you do work around when you have the most energy is a good technique for productivity. It gives you a time frame as to when you’re going to do things. My recommendation is to do your hardest work when you have the most energy and your most enjoyable work when your energy starts to dip. That way there’s no excuse to procrastinate the hard thing because you’re “too tired”.

Have a go-to study spot…that isn’t just your room

Don’t get me wrong, your room is a humble and understandable choice for studying. The thing is, doing your homework in the same spot every day is gonna make the day seem longer than it is. Going somewhere else can be motivating and it’s important to have a change in scenery once in a while. My suggestion for people who like to have a quiet space would be the library (an obvious choice I know). Those that like to be around people when they study should try the Barone Campus Center, Campus Ministry (under the chapel) or outside. 

Get a reasonable amount of sleep

I’ll make this short because I’m sure there’s gonna be a good chunk of people who will skip this blurb entirely. Sleep is important. Everyone has a bare minimum amount of sleep they need for a reason. Despite anything else you’ve heard, being a good student involves basic brain function. Get a decent amount of sleep, please.

Go to office hours

There are a lot of reasons to go to your professor’s office hours. For one, they can explain anything that you need to know in class more thoroughly than explaining it in an email. You could also discuss the specific steps they want to see in order to get an A in the class. Every professor is different, and the criteria they want to see from you may not be on the syllabus, depending on the class. In any case, it can’t hurt. 

Study Skills

Studying isn’t exactly an entertaining experience, but there are a lot of ways to make it more enjoyable … or at least a lot less painful. Also, remember that a better study session means more information is retained. 

Have a variety of ways to study

The best way to study is to have multiple variations of studying. You’re less likely to get bored that way. Some of my suggestions include flashcards (or Quizlet), rewriting notes or important pieces of information, writing down what you remember before looking at your notes or trying to explain the subject matter to someone else. There are plenty of other ways to study as well.

Take breaks

Take at least a five-minute break every half hour. That break time is pretty much the equivalent of a Youtube video or two. Breaks are good for you. There comes a point where you’ve been studying so long that you aren’t retaining the information as well as you could be if you took a break. 

Spread out your study sessions

Don’t cram all of your studying into one day and pull an all-nighter. Trust me, it isn’t worth it. Studying for 15 minutes across the span of a week or two is a lot more effective than a cram session the night before. It’s also a lot better for you mentally to spread out the study sessions than to deal with the stress of not knowing anything the day before. 

Note-Taking

Abbreviate common unimportant words

For example: Instead of using the word “and,” I just write a plus sign. I always know what it means and I can breeze over it without it taking up too much space in my brain. Another good example is to write “ppl” instead of the word people. Basically, if you can abbreviate it and still know what it means, then do it. It saves time in both the actual note-taking and studying process.

Hand write notes (if you can) 

If you want to remember your notes more, then handwriting them is the key. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Firstly, if your professor talks really fast, then the best way to take notes is whatever you can do quicker. Secondly, if you don’t need to memorize the material, then it doesn’t matter how you’re taking notes. Classes that mainly require open-book essays don’t require memorization. 

Make the notes look pretty

This advice is for guys as well as girls. I’m not saying to turn the notes into pieces of artwork, but using a few colored pens and/or highlighters makes a difference. Or if they’re typed notes, you could change the font, the format, bold print subtitles, etc. Make it look good enough so that when you look back at it it doesn’t look like just a bunch of words on a page. The very process of looking at the paper will likely increase your will to study.

Hopefully, these bits and pieces of information are attributes that you could apply in your own life! Even though there isn’t just one path that leads to academic achievement that can apply to everyone, you can make your own methods that work best for you.

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