From Surviving To Thriving: 11 Steps For Excelling At School

From Surviving To Thriving: 11 Steps For Excelling At School

I know it sucks, but you just need to suck it up and study.

'Twas the start of midterms, and all through campus, students were losing their minds. It's the lovely time of the year where so many students begin to realize how truly screwed they are. Yeah... maybe you should've passed on that game of beer pong and stayed home to study, huh? Now, I could sit here and throw some more passive aggressive comments at my peers to let them know how much they suck, but that's not productive. I've been there before and still stumble there every now and again. Not playing beer pong, but procrastinating. There have been several nights where I have chosen to watch Netflix and eat pizza rather than work on that one project or study for that exam. Now, I'm no straight-A student like my sisters, but I've made strides in my grades, and I felt that I should share some tips that helped me pull my act together. Who knows, it might just help you with midterm and finals season.

1. Recognize your weak areas

Now you don't need to be as harsh on yourself as this GIF, but it's important to recognize where you fall short. Is it class attendance? Study habits? Are you not understanding the material? You need to ask yourself these questions so that you can move forward.

2. Get some help

For all of us procrastinators, there are always those people who just have their shit together. Those people who don't even have to try and they're just shooting a 4.0. There are tutoring options across campus, so swallow your pride instead of that bottle of vodka on your desk and get some help!

3. Plan out your week

Your professors passed out these strange things on the first day of classes called a syllabus. These mystical packets include class schedules and these include test dates and due dates for projects. I know your mind's probably blown, but stick with me.You can go through your syllabus and actually plan out your weeks when you have big due dates coming up so you're not scrambling at the end.

4. Get some friends

Group studying is a double-edged sword. On one side, you have the opportunity to get other opinions and access to someone else's knowledge that will help to add to your own. On the other hand... you might end up looking at puppy videos for 3 hours (true story). You need to find the people who will provide you with the first scenario and not the puppy videos.

5. Get to know your professors

Contrary to popular belief, professors aren't out to get you, and they aren't going to go all Pennywise The Clown on you and rip your arm off if you happen to ask them for help. It's okay to get help, and most professors will respect you more when they see that you are actually putting in the effort. They may even go easier on you... you never know.

6. GO TO CLASS!!!!!!

C'mon people... you're getting yourself into tens of thousands of dollars in debt, you might as well get your money worth. If you go to class, you'll have a better chance than someone who didn't go. And if you go, you might have Dave Franco hit on you.

7. Take notes and organize them

We've all told ourselves the most basic lie of school: "I'll remember it". If you're in a 300+ person lecture, drowning out what your teacher is saying in favor of texting your friend about how much this class sucks, you're not going to remember it unless you write it down! That brings me to my next point, which is...

8. Get off your phone!

Don't even lie, we all do it. I know big lectures that go for an hour and a half can be really boring, and checking your phone every now and again isn't that big of a deal, but when you spend the whole time watching Netflix and scrolling through Facebook, that's where it becomes problematic. You can look every now and again, but make sure you're staying focused on the big picture.

9. Go to review sessions

Back to what I said before with your professors. They aren't out to get you and are willing to help if you put the effort in. Review sessions are a great way to understand things you may have been confused on before. Don't be afraid to go!

10. Put down the solo cup and study!

I know it sucks, but you just need to suck it up and study.

11. Believe in yourself

You are epic! You are smart! You can do this!

I know that school can be intimidating and even a little scary, but you need to believe that you can do it! If you weren't up to the task, your university would not have accepted you! You do have to put the effort in, and of course, it can get exhausting. But I have faith in every one of you that you can do it! Keep it classy my guys, gals, and non-binary pals!

Cover Image Credit: Element5 Digital

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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It Took Me 4 Years And $100K To Realize Why Poor Kids Like Me Don’t Go To College

But now that I know, I can't get it out of my mind.


I grew up poor.

There, I said it. It's out in the open now—I don't come from a family that has a bunch of money. In fact, my family doesn't have much money at all. My single mother works in fast food and does a DAMN good job trying to support herself and the rest of us. A lot of the food my family gets comes from food pantries. We have received government assistance before. I grew up poor, but I haven't let that define me.

Especially when it came to going to college.

I didn't want to let my economic background hold me back from my potential. I wanted to be the first person on both sides of my family to receive my college degree. I wanted to get a better paying job and moving up in socioeconomic status so I don't have to be the "poor" girl with the "poor" family all my life. I'm not really ashamed of coming from a poor family, but I also don't want to be poor my entire life.

For a majority of my college career, I wondered why there weren't many poor students around me at college. I go to a public university, and it's just the same price as any other state school really. Coming from a lower income home, I did receive a lot of assistance, and without it, there's no way in hell I could be here. I know that many other lower-income students can get this same assistance, which really made me wonder why there was such a lack of other poor kids around me.

I mean, everyone posts videos from their nice, upper-middle-class homes on Snapchat over holiday breaks while I go back home to the trailer park.

Everyone can call mom or dad and ask for money when things get rough while I pay for 100% of the things I own because my mother simply cannot afford it.

Everyone walks around in their name-brand clothes while I'm rocking Walmart knockoffs. It's not something I thought about for a couple years in college, but once I noticed it, I couldn't think of anything else.

It took me nearly all four years of college to realize why there's such a lack of poor students at my average, public university. Poor students are set up for failure in college. It's almost designed to be a survival of the fittest when it comes to us lower-income students, and those of us who are deemed the fittest and do make it to graduation day are typically stuck with a lot of debt that we don't have the financial intelligence or support to even think about paying off.

Poor students are in the minority in college, and when you're in a minority anywhere, surviving can be difficult. When it costs $100 just for a 5-digit code to do your homework, it can be hard to stay in school. When the cost of living on campus is $10,000 or rent for an apartment is nearly $500 a month, it can be hard to stay in school. When you don't have a car because you can't save up the money for one and your parents can't help you, it can be hard to stay in school. When you're forced to get a minimum wage, on-campus job that limits your to twenty hours a week, it can be hard to stay in school. When all of your friends don't understand why you can't go out to eat or to the bar every weekend, it can be hard to stay in school. All of these reasons add up to the main reason why poor kids don't go to college—the odds are stacked against us.

I never had shame in my socioeconomic status until I went to college. In my hometown, I wasn't much less than the norm. Now, my home life is drastically different than that of all of my friends. I know that this is something that is never going to change because when I enter the workforce in less than a year, I'll be going in as the first member of my family with a college degree. People will treat me differently when I tell them this, even if I don't want them to. People will treat me differently when they ask where my parents work and I tell them McDonald's. It's an unfortunate reality that I cannot control.

It took me nearly all four years to realize why poor kids don't go to college, but now that I know, I can't get it off my mind.

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