Studying Tips For A Successful First Semester

Studying Tips For A Successful First Semester

A simple road to better test scores.

Let's face it, if you're a college student, quizzes, tests, and exams are unavoidable. If you've been lucky enough to make it to the end of September with none behind you, start preparing for the tsunami that could flood your life in the next few weeks. If you're anything like me, it's not the test itself that I worry about, it's the seemingly endless hours of preparation that act as a gut-wrenching precursor to any major test—otherwise known as studying. My freshman year was more challenging than it needed to be because I knew nothing about effective methods for studying. As I dive into my sophomore year, I'm leaving those mistakes in the dust. Let me share with you a few tips and tricks I have begun to use this semester that have proven to improve my study skills and ultimately boost my test scores!

Schedule a time to study. Just as you have classes that are scheduled for certain times and on certain days, it's important to set aside time to do nothing but study. Of course, it's always a great idea to try and squeeze in studying between your daily activities, such as work or practice, but if you don't make a time slot in your calendar for pure, uninterrupted studying, it won't be as beneficial as it could be. By the way, If you are a college student and don't utilize a calendar or day organizer, I judge you (and envy you—I wish my life had no schedule!). Stop telling yourself that you'll study at work or before going to sleep. Trust me, I know this from experience. Work will somehow get slammed or you'll fall asleep with flash cards on your forehead and a big fat F in front of your eyes when you get that test back.

Find an ideal, comfortable study space. Living my first few college years as a commuter, it's easy for me to find somewhere quiet to study where no one will bother me. It's wonderful. For those who live on campus, it can be next to impossible to find a place of solitude, safe from those friends who just can't get the hint that you have other things to do besides talk about what's for dinner in the caf and that attractive lad who just strolled by. If there's a silent floor at your school library, which happens to be the third floor at John Carroll, go there. Empty classrooms in academic buildings are also a possibility. Find a cozy spot, plop down, and get to work. Bring some snacks so you're not tempted to go on random walks to the vending machine later realizing you're on your fourth bag of Doritos. If you like to listen to music, I suggest some instrumental or classical music. This way, you're not distracted by belting out Taylor Swift lyrics or wiping the tears off of your cheeks listening to Drake. Spotify has an awesome variety of studying playlistscheck them out. Also, put your phone away. Make sure it's on silent. Reward yourself every 30 minutes or so with a five-minute phone break.

Practice a particular study method. Last year, I tried to re-read my notes over and over and considered that a satisfactory study method. I wasn't satisfied when I got my grade. This year, I believe flash cards are my golden ticket. Flash cards are as old as time, but can really help you ingrain that much-needed info into your brain for your next test, especially if you have to remember a lot of vocabulary or terminology. If you hate writing things out by hand, I strongly suggest, where online flash cards are available for free. It's Eco-friendly too, so it's a win-win!

If a certain method works for you, don't hesitate to stick with it! There's no reason to stop doing something that's helping you. Maintaining similar study methods throughout the whole semester may become boring, but if it helps you on your first few tests, it will more than likely continue to do so. For example, for every PowerPoint we go through in my Anatomy class, I go back and create flash cards to cover all of the material. I make a hard copy set and a set on Quizlet, so I write and see that information many times. If you don't like consistency, maybe add on a few smaller studying methods to your successful base method to spice things up a bit.

Relax. Don't let the stress get the best of you. If you're putting in solid time and effort while studying, it's okay to take a Netflix break. If you maintain a steady schedule and methods of studying, there will be less to worry about when test time comes around. After a study session, do some yoga, take a hot shower, put some cucumbers over your eyelidswhatever you gotta do (that's legal and safe), do so.

Those are my simple and hopefully helpful study tips. Have a great fall semester!

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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Elisabeth Carell, Choose UMich Because You KNOW We’re The Best Big 10

We are a community that sticks with you forever, an amazing network that’ll take you above and beyond.

After stopping at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the bathroom and some food, the Carell’s arrived at the University of Michigan for a real tour of an *actual* school.

Multiple students spotted Elisabeth’s parents, Steve and Nancy Carell throughout the day. They were kind enough to stop and take pictures with them, and when one student called out “Michael!” Steve turned around and laughed with the 20-year-old. As amazing as it was to have these two on our campus, that isn’t the point of this article.

Dear Elisabeth Carell,

We hope you enjoyed visiting the one and only University of Michigan. This school is one of a kind; wear a Michigan hat or shirt around any town in the United States and you are bound to get “Go Blue!” yelled to you throughout the day. We are a community that sticks with you forever, an amazing network that’ll take you above and beyond.

1. Game days are no competition

From being woken up at 7 a.m. to getting ready, to the euphoric tailgates to WINNING, nothing beats a Michigan game day. Nothing. Being in the Big House thousands decked out in Maize and Blue is incomparable, you will never feel more a part of something than you do when you are all cheering for our football team in that stadium. And trust me, you want to go to a school where they actually win their games.

Anyone that goes to the school can go on and on about all the traditions we have at this school.

2. At some point during your time here, you will most definitely paint the rock

What’s on the rock changes each day, sometimes even multiple times a day.

3. We have a giant Spinning cube

The Cube” as most people call it, brings good luck. Students and alumni are known to spin it when they walk by.

4. The traditions start as soon as you become a wolverine

During orientation we walk through the fountain towards the diag, symbolizing the beginning of us as a Wolverine. Then on graduation day, the students walk through the fountain again towards the graduate school, symbolizing their bright futures.

5. Kissing under the West Engineering Arch

It is known that if you kiss someone at midnight under the Arch before you’re 21, then this is the one you will marry.


I swear this is real, in the middle of the diag lays a brass M, if you step on it you will fail your first blue book exam. The only way to reverse this is to run to the Natural History Museum from the M, kiss the two stone pumas and run back between the first and last stroke of midnight –naked.

7. Our campus is beautiful

You can always count on something going on in the diag and people laying in hammocks or walking on tightropes tied between trees. The Arb, the buildings, the views, it’s all exactly what you could want for a college campus.

8. State Street

There are tons of “state streets” across the country, but nothing quite compares to this one. There is art and culture everywhere you look, amazing clothing stores and of course this gorgeous street brings me to…food.

9. Food

From Frita Batidos to Fred’s to Zingerman’s, the list goes on and on.


11. The education

Our clubs and activities are endless. There is a place for everyone and so much opportunity. The faculty care, they want to see you succeed. I have heard many stories where faculty have introduced a job or an internship to a student that skyrocketed their career. With all the classes and majors you could want, Michigan specializes in anything and anyone with passion. That’s what makes us so great.

This is where the best memories and friendships happen, I promise. College can be hard, but lucky as a student at one of the best universities I’ve fallen in love with this place faster than I’d ever think. You go in and faster than you would imagine you are able to find connection unlike any other. This is where it's at.

Come here to have the best college experience you could ever ask for.


The entire UofM student body

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Richman

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When You Work A Job In College, You Earn Things Mom And Dad's Money Can't Buy

The appreciation I have gained is something that cannot be bought, it was earned by hard work and dedication.

As my first year of college approached, I pleaded with my parents not to make me work during my first semester. I selfishly just wanted to have as much free time as possible to hang out with my friends, go out to frat parties, and sleep the whole next day. The last thing I wanted was to have a job to worry about, I just wanted to live off of my parents' dime.

I also thought it would have been nice to have school and extracurriculars as my only responsibility, but my parents refused to let me not have a job. They were both extremely hard workers for all of their life and saw no reason I could not handle both work and school.

So, against my wishes, I went out and got myself a hostessing job at a local restaurant. I had no idea the lessons and skills I would gain from this job that I dreaded on applying for initially.

1. Time Management

One of the things I value most about simultaneously being a student and having a job is learning how to manage my time. Prior to being a working student, I was extremely lazy when it came to doing assignments and projects, I would put them off until the very last possible moment. Once I started working, I had no time to waste, I was forced to get my life together and prioritize my responsibilities. So instead of spending my free time laying around and watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I was finishing my assignments before I had to go to work because I knew I had no other choice. I learned how to balance my responsibilities while still making time for myself.

2. Maturity

I learned that you cannot rely on your parents financially forever and that it is crucial to learn how to support yourself. I know my parents wanted to teach me that the real world is hard and they wanted to prepare me for it as best as they could. They did not want to shelter and enable me because they realized that it would only hinder me in the long run. My job itself taught me how to take responsibility for my actions, be on time, and to be professional. This all around gave me a more mature outlook on life and strengthened me as a person in several areas.

3. Perseverance

Being a working student is not easy and often makes it really hard to keep going when you are tired, sick, or just feeling worn out. Balancing both work and school can be extremely overwhelming and just make you want to give up at times, but you learn how to persevere because you care about your future. I had coworkers, teachers, and friends/family supporting me through every obstacle that was placed in my path and helped me get closer to achieving my goals. I knew the consequences of missing work, skipping class, and being lazy so I chose to persevere even when times were tough.

4. The Value of Money

When your parents support you financially, you never realize how much things cost. You probably never thought twice about swiping your parents' credit card for a $5 coffee or a $20 meal, but once it's your own money you start to think twice about splurging on unnecessary items. I began to realize how much things like groceries and gas cost and started to manage my money accordingly.

I also learned that money just doesn’t grow on trees and that there is a lot of hard work required in earning money. I would never have realized the true value of a dollar if my parents didn't make me get a job in college.

5. Appreciation

By having a job in college, I gained such an appreciation for things that I would have previously taken for granted. I have learned what it means to work for things and truly deserve everything that I have worked for. The appreciation I have gained is something that cannot be bought, it was earned by hard work and dedication.

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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