Everything I wish I knew before I started college:
1. Analyze the timing of your productivity, and pick your classes likewiseGiphy
My first semester, all of my classes were early in the morning (Yes, 8AM). Before coming to college, I knew I wasn't a morning person, but I convinced myself that it was the right idea because I would have the rest of the day off to myself. Sadly, I found myself waking up groggy on the daily, unable to focus on any of my classes. When I was finally out and "had the rest of the day off to myself," I found myself running straight back to my dorm to nap instead of getting my work done because I was too exhausted to be productive. Second semester, I turned everything completely around. I had my classes a little later in the day, but it allowed me to wake up refreshed, alert, and able to do my assignments. Yes, I would get out of class later, but I still had more than enough energy by then to get my work completed. Don't lie to yourself: figure out whether or not you're a morning person and coordinate your class times around that.
2. Are you the type to bang out assignments, or do you break it up over time?Giphy
Personally, I've tried out both. I do think it's beneficial to break up working on an assignment over time, but it depends on what kind of assignment it is. Don't stretch out a 30-minute assignment over 3 days--suck it up, and complete it in one sitting! There is nothing more gratifying than completing an assignment, and the faster you can do it, the faster you can tackle the entirety of your homework. That being said, I don't think you should attempt to cram a 3-hour assignment in a night. Plan out how long an assignment will take, how much time you're willing to put in, and stick to it.
3. Calendars are your friendsGiphy
They weren't kidding when they said organization and time management are some of the biggest skills you must master in college. I've tried every method under the sun, and I find that the most beneficial for me are calendars and bullet journals. I tried simply remembering all my assignments, but it's hard to do that when there are so many dates to keep in mind; you're bound to slip up. I've tried making a to-do list, but simply listing the things I needed to do with the date beside it didn't really help me visualize how much time I had. My best advice would be to utilize a calendar, whether it's a physical one or a digital one. My Google Calendar is my BEST friend, and I put every possible assignment, event, task, or reminder on it. Color-coding them based on assignment, class, club, urgency, etc, lets you visualize your week and month a lot clearer.
4. Utilize every campus resource--you are paying for it after allGiphy
I'll admit it: I'm stubborn as hell when it comes to my work. I don't desire seeking outside help, because more times than not, I figure it out myself. Not only is that a TERRIBLE mentality to have, but it's nowhere near as efficient as it could be. Utilize tutoring services or centers at your school if you ever have trouble with a certain subject. Don't be afraid to stop by the mental health office if you're having a bad day. Get yourself in shape by going to the recreational center. Be sure to talk with your advisor so you have your academic journey set and planned.
5. Have a reset day at the end of your weekGiphy
College has quite a bit of hard work in it, and students should know that it's not only okay but essential to take a break. I typically keep my reset days towards the end of the week so it's something I can look forward to, motivating me to get through the week. My reset days involve watching my favorite shows, pampering, catching up with friends and family, etc. It's a day where I can truly relax, reflect on all of the hard work I've done throughout the week, and rejuvenate myself to repeat the process for the week after.
6. Explore and experiment with different environments for doing your workTired Late Night GIF by SLOTHILDA - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
There are a million different places one can sit and do their work on campus, it's just a matter of going and figuring out which ones work best for you. I've done work in my dorm, my bed, my dorm lounge, my dining hall, cafes, outside tables, libraries, library quiet floors, friends' dorms, club offices, everywhere! Personally, I find myself most productive when I'm outside in the sun. For me, natural light puts me in a good mood, which also makes me more productive. If the weather is too cold for that, my second favorite place is at a cafe, preferably by the window. It gives me the same effect of being in the outdoors and I get into my peak productivity state.
7. Sleep, sleep, sleep!Giphy
College students often complain with how little they sleep, but sleep for me is one of my main priorities. I can't be at my fullest potential of working and learning if I'm too focused on trying not to fall asleep in class. The only way a student can get proper sleep is if they manage their time well and not wait till late at night to get all of their things done. A good night's rest promotes a good day's work!
8. Learn your learning style, and establish a system for every class you takeGiphy
Personally, I'm a completely visual learner. I like color coding, making flow charts, and making all of my notes digital so I can easily edit/add/delete anything. If you're more of an auditory learner, try recording lectures and/or watching educational videos on subjects you struggle with. If you're more of a hands-on learner, try hand-writing your notes rather than typing, so you're more conscious of the words you are writing. If you find yourself better at learning in groups, establish a study group with people who have a similar learning style to you.