Alright, let's just agree to be honest with each other right now, college is horrifying. You're moving away from home, you're leaving the comfort of a city you've grown up in, you're leaving the safety nest of your high school. Holy shit. Life is happening guys!!!
Just a year ago, I was in your shoes. My anxiety was keeping me up every night, I was crying every time I had to leave the house and whenever my boyfriend went home, basically, I was a mess y'all. I wish someone would have told me all of these tips. Let me help you out.
1. Learn and use the Pomodoro techniqueGiphy
This is the scientifically proven best way to study. The Pomodoro technique breaks up your studying time into doable increments that have been shown to most affectively allow your brain to absorb information. To correctly do this technique, study distraction free for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. Study again for 25 minutes, 5-minute break. 25 minutes of studying, 5-minute break. In the last round, study for 25 minutes and then take a 30-minute break away from your studying area. Repeat as needed.
2. Get a phone blocking app and use itGiphy
Apps like Forest and Flora use the Pomodoro technique to help you study, but also completely lock up your phone. If you try to use your phone for anything other than the app, it kills the tree in your "forest" and guilt trips you until you want to cry.
3. Get on a first name basis with your professors
I always made it a point to form a relationship with all of my professors, yes, even the HUGE lectures. Going to office hours, asking to speak to them for help with class or even life, and going over tests with them will prove to them that you are here to learn and are dedicated to your education. Also, my professors are some of the coolest people I've ever met and are great friends.
4. Use a planner that is color coordinated
Y'all, I use three planners per year. I have an Odyssey planner (you have A LOT of meetings when you're Editor-in-Chief), a school planner, and then an hourly breakdown planner. They are also color coordinated. It might seem obsessive, but listen, it SAVES my brain from my anxiety. I literally never miss assignments. It's good.
5. Use daily to-do lists
Writing out exactly what you need to do in your day helps it seem so much more manageable. Breaking bigger tasks down into smaller tasks makes everything seem more doable. Trust me.
6. Break you day down by hoursGiphy
I previously mentioned that I have an hour-by-hour planner, which helps me figure out what I'm doing every second of every day. This allows me to set aside specific periods of time for studying, eating, and relaxing. This also allows me to feel more in control of my life.
7. Stay hydrated!Giphy
Keeping your body hydrated will allow your mind to focus on the task at hand, not how dry your mouth or eyes are. Carry a water bottle with you at all times.
8. Follow the top three priority ruleGiphy
Make sure that you have three things done on your to-do list that are your absolute biggest concern. These three things should leave you completely satisfied if they are the only three things you can accomplish today.
9. Follow the two minute ruleGiphy
If something seems completely impossible to start, force yourself to completely throw yourself into it for two minutes. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be a start. I promise it'll be so much easier after this.
10. Fall into a routineGiphy
Squidward knew what he was talking about, until he got all depressed... OK squidward is not the best example here... but once you figure out a good routine for yourself, everything will get so much better.
11. Remember to schedule funGiphy
School is very important, but this is also a whole new life. You have to make time for yourself to have fun. Get tacos at 3 a.m. and watch movies with your floormates. You'll miss it when you go home.
12. Know your resources on campusGiphy
When you're at your orientation, make sure that you actually pay attention to the services that you have available to you. At Cleveland State, we have everything from on-campus therapy services to a food pantry if food is something you are having a hard time coming by. Trust me when I say that they will come in handy.
13. Find your outletGiphy
For me, it's writing. That's why I'm a Nursing major that also happens to write weekly for Odyssey. Being able to do something for myself each week is a guaranteed way to relieve some stress.
14. Reach out for help from your past teachers
Going off of using your resources and forming relationships with teachers/professors, your past high school teachers are rooting for you! I have used my past english teachers all throughout the years (shout-out to Mrs. Thornton and Ms. Zadai!!!) and they have saved my butt on many occasions. They want to help you, let them. But always remember to thank them endlessly.
15. Keep your goals tangible and visibleGiphy
Write your goals on your bathroom mirror. Write them on your desktop of your laptop. Make your goals achievable and put them somewhere you can easily see them. Trust me, you'll achieve them faster that way.
16. Use movie scores to study
One of my biggest study tips is to study to the score of your favorite movie. I always use the "Captain America The Winter Soldier" movie score. It has the perfect balance of suspense, motivation, and relaxation (you know, those super depressing parts). It helps your brain focus, and trust me, it works some magic for your studying habits.
17. Make yourself a cup of teaGiphy
So maybe you don't like tea, but make yourself you're favorite drink (non-alcoholic because alcohol is not gonna help). Doesn't seem like much, but it'll boost your mood.
18. Keep your month in view
Keeping everything in view in a big layout will help you keep things in perspective. I have a huge wall calendar that helps me remember when things are due and how much longer I have till exams and so on.
19. Invest in good note-taking skillsGiphy
Learn how to take notes, good ones at that. Learn how to take lecture notes, learn how to take notes off of a PowerPoint, learn how to take notes out of a textbook, learn how to take fricken' notes. Learn how to study from those notes. Trust me.
20. Plan time to studyGiphy
Remember that hourly thing I keep talking about? You need to plan time to study. The best tip is to start studying for an exam at least one week before the exam. Just do it.
21. Make studying fun and doable
I often studied with my stethoscope around my neck, my lab coat on, and in the mindset that I was already a nurse who is treating a patient, not a student who is studying for a test. I also had the Quizlet app on my phone which allowed me to study while I was waiting for the bus or waiting for a class to start.
22. Pay attention in your College 101 classGiphy
Believe it or not, College 101 classes are actually there to help you. They are not just some waste of time and a lot of the information that they give you in that class is actually useful for the rest of your classes.
23. GO TO CLASSGiphy
When I was working, my coworkers and I discovered that with each class you skip, you're literally wasting about $300. Go to class. If you don't go to class, you're just going to nap. That's an expensive nap.
24. Prioritize yourself above others
College is going to completely throw you and so now is the most important time to learn how to prioritize yourself over others. Your friends are very important, but so is your own life and mental health. If you need to give up hanging out with your friends for an hour to go to a therapist appointment, then that's what you need to do. You are the most important thing in your life.
25. Be upfront and honest with your RA
Your Resident Assistant is your best resource if you're living on campus. I could always go to my RA, Tyler, for anything. Whether it was because I needed a laugh (which he never failed to provide) or if I needed to cry something out, Tyler was there for me. Just be yourself and be honest with them and you will have a best friend for life.
26. Prepare for class ahead of time
Print off your PowerPoints before class, make sure that you have all of the supplies you need for class, and are ready in the mindset to learn. Also...
27. READ YOUR DAMN TEXTBOOK!!!
You did not spend all that money on a textbook for nothing. Learn how to annotate your textbook and read the damn thing. You may not think it's required, but trust me, it is so much easier to understand things in class when the professor is going super fast when you already have a basic understanding of the topic.
Make sure that you are getting out there and getting your heart rate up. Not only is it good for your body, but it's also amazing for relieving stress and clearing your mind out when everything seems to be crumbling around you. Just do it.
29. Stay in touch with your family
Calling my mom and sitting with her to just talk is one of the best stress relievers. Calling my birth mom and bsing through all hours of the night makes everything seem OK. Texting my Aunt at midnight (she lives in Arizona so it's only 9 there) just to yell about crappy professors makes it all seem manageable. Just keep in touch with your family man.
30. Plan at least one half day per week to be by yourself and do whatever you wantGiphy
And I really mean be completely alone. Take a bubble bath. Watch a lot of Netflix. Nap until you can't nap anymore. Just take care of yourself for at least half a day with no distractions for anyone else.
31. Accept that this is going to be hardGiphy
If college was easy, everyone would be passing with flying colors. It's hard, but accepting that it's going to be a challenge is half the battle already won.
32. Remind yourself that you are amazing
Ive written about this before, but telling yourself that you are amazing along with other self-affirmations (my mantra is "I am enough") will boost your positive outcomes and all around make you feel better. Just do it, trust me.
33. Take care of yourself
Take your damn vitamins. Take your multivitamin. Take your calcium, zinc, and iron. Take your vitamin C. I did not get sick once the entire year last year, even when my roommate was sicker than sick. Eat your veggies and fruits, drink your water, get your sleep. Everything will be so much worse if you don't.
You're going to be okay, you got this. Everything is so much easier once you start.