Monday, August 5, 2013

How to Succeed in College

Many of us are returning back to school this month. Some of you may be going into college for the first time. I am entering graduate school in two weeks and it occurred to be that I have learned a lot while attending school over the years. I would like to share some of what I have learned with those of you attending school for the first time or returning for a new year. So without further ado here is a little article I wrote some time ago and have sense updated. Enjoy! 


Okay, let’s face it; starting college can be a bit scary. You move from one to three thousand student schools to schools with upwards of ten thousand students or more. There are nearly a hundred different major areas of study and the classes are harder, longer, and more in detail than you have ever had. What took a year to learn in High School biology now only takes a month or two.

               With all these new challenges maintaining a good grade point average, and your sanity, may feel impossible. Never fear, both can be done and without too much effort on your part. College will be stressful and I cannot guarantee you will never have to be overwhelmed with work but I guarantee I can make sure you have the right tools to ensure you don’t drown.

1.      Be organized

I know it sounds silly, you’ve been told this your whole life, but being organized can be a life saver and can help you to keep track of all assignments and activities that need to be done. Even the flightiest, most forgetful person can look like they have a photographic memory.

·         Invest in a dry erase board: Write down each of your assignments for the week, writing each class’s workload in a different color. As you finish each one, erase it.
·        Copy the syllabus to your computer: Ask your teacher to email you a copy of their syllabus. Most teachers will include a itinerary (or calendar) with the syllabus. Copy-Paste it into a new word document. As each assignment is finished cross it off. Keep the rest of the syllabus in a separate file. This is  also a great way to look ahead for future assignments or to review rules and procedures.
·        Create an electronic binder:  create a folder for school work in my documents.
1.      Right click
2.      Select new folder
3.      Name it school work
                                                                                                       4.  Create a folder for each class and save everything you do for that class (most work will be electronic) into this folder.                                                                               
                                                                                                      5.  Also save your syllabus and work schedule here. If you want create a course info folder to put these in. 
                                                                               6. Scan written assignments and save them as well
Keep everything you do even after the class is over. Sometimes subjects come up where you least expect them. It is nice to have previous work as a reference.  

2.      Study  

Redundant, I know. Every college student knows that he or she should probably study a little if they want to make the grade but some students enter school with little to no study skills at all, despite good grades they may have made in high school.

·        Leave Your Dorm: studying in your dorm can be a drag and quite distracting. By studying in new locations, you feel refreshed and motivated. Plus it helps to be right in a location with that coffee right on hand. Studying away from your dorm also makes the dorm room feel more like a relaxation area and stops those annoying roommate fights over whether or not the light should be on at two in the morning.
·        Utilize  this websites allows you to create electronic flashcards by inputting questions, vocabulary words and concepts. Some words can even  be defined for you and Quizlet can utilize multiple languages. The cards can even be printed out as flashcards or a list. Quizlet also generates practice games and quizzes for you. You can share all this via Facebook or the Quizlet community.
·        Form a study group: studying by yourself can be a drag, especially if you are an auditory learner. Having someone to quiz you is a great way to study. Plus you can tutor each other in various subjects. Some professors have exceedingly long lectures. By breaking up the responsibilities for each part of the lecture, you can better focus on one area in that class and get new perspectives on the other areas. Everyone essentially becomes a tutor in the group.
·        Use the Labs:  most college have math, science and writing labs where students can go to get help with homework and papers. The writing lab can review papers for focus, grammar, content, readability and correct citation. They can help students get ideas for papers and thesis too. The math lab is great for those struggling with homework issues or test anxiety. For those of you who struggle with Math like I do, the Math/Science center is a great way to get the one on one help you may need.

3.      Make New Friends:

Yeah, yeah, I know college is about more than making friends and socializing partying can damage your academic life and be a hindrance. But you will find that the friend you making college really do help you further yourself and a career and in life. Finding friends with similar interests and values while meeting other new friends with different beliefs and cultures is one of the best parts of the college experience, and finding out whom you are as a person.
·        Join an organization:  one of the greatest things about college is the numerous opportunities and organizations within the University. You'll find a club for whatever interests you have and then some. Joining an organization is a great way to meet new people of similar interests and learn more about your skill hobby or said interest.
·        Talk to your classmates: walking into a new classroom on the first day of school, can be nerve-racking. Your heart can raise and you can feel like a fish out of water. One of the best this, is to talk to your classmates. Many times even in college teachers will assign group work, and working with strangers can be nerve-racking. Sometimes we do not trust others with our grade. We need help and cannot locate anyone to help us. By talking and making friends with your classmates, grouper becomes easier and tensions are lowered. This also easier to start a study group or find a classmate who is willing to help you. Because, know this, there will always be an expert in the class. Sometimes it will be you sometimes it won't. It's better to have the expert on your side.
·        Go to events: many colleges offer events and parties throughout the semester. S sometimes once a month. A great way to have a fun time and to meet new interesting people is to go to these events. Sometimes these events have teambuilding exercises, some schools even offer nights on the rope courses. Others have big events that are like fair events or concerts or movie showings. They serve as icebreakers, and help keep students out of the bars in off the streets. If you wanted to go to select afterwards, that is your prerogative.


I hope this article has been helpful; you will follow my advice when entering a new environment or when starting the new semester. By do not claim to be an expert on college life, as a college student myself I know how difficult and stressful it can be. Reach out to parents, other students and even your advisors for more help, and make use of the counseling center. Many universities offer the counseling center services for free as part of payment of your tuition. Gym services are often made available as well and are there to keep you in good health.  Being in shape physically and emotionally can also help you deal with a mental strain of course, work and social life. Best wishes fixation point

Hyper Smash

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