How To Do College Without Really Trying

Friday, October 4, 2013

If you are a college student and read the title, you are probably laughing to yourself, wondering how the hell I am supposed to explain how to manage your time without trying at all. Well, let me let you in on a little secret. The title is a total lie, but I like consistency and all of my other "How To" posts had that title. Chances are that you are paying big money to be where you are right now, and if you're not, then I hate you (I am kidding, of course. I actually love you more than my brothers). College is an investment, and like any other investment, you are going to want to treat it like that. Putting extra time and effort into your work because you are paying for it is a great incentive to do well. Here are a few tips to help you with that.

  1. Purchase an agenda. Some schools even give them out for free! My university gave them to us at orientation, but if you are like me, you might want something a little more, erm, stylish. I splurged this year and got myself a jumbo Lilly Pulitzer agenda. They are a little pricey, but it gives you even more of a reason to use it every day! I write down my assignments, days of exams, and due dates for papers. Let's be real, I usually write down the local concerts as well. Writing down all of these important academic reminders (or not so important...) makes it a lot easier to stay organized and on top of your work.
  2. Go to class! You are going to hear this a million times over the next four years (or two, or three, wherever you are in your schooling). If you have not heard it yet, well, I'm sorry I have to be the first to tell you. It is tempting to skip your big lecture hall classes with no attendance. Heck, if my professor was not a love child between Pat Monahan from Train and Mick Jagger, I might not show up to mine either. However, attendance in any class is key to really understanding. Professors say information in their lectures that don't show up in readings, or in online notes. That could make or break an A, or even maybe pushing that F to a D. Every point matters. Plus, you are paying for every class you take! If you are on your death bed, then it is okay to miss a class. If you know that you get sick when the weather changes, make some friends early so you can catch up on their notes when you need to miss, but don't mooch off of classmates just because you are too lazy to get your butt out of bed.
  3. Don't procrastinate. I have been trying very hard to stay on top of my game so saying this did not become too hypocritical. I can admit, I used to be the person up at midnight the night before a major assignment was due. I would go to school the next day a walking zombie and it was not fun. Now that I am a responsible (and I say that loosely. I haven't be grocery shopping once in the past seven weeks) college student, I have to get my shit together. I usually write out a daily to-do list on a post-it note and put it on my wall in front of my desk. Sometimes the satisfaction of crossing out everything on that list is enough to make me want to blow through my assignments. Plus, getting everything done early leaves you so much more time for fun things, like painting your nails, watching TV, or even hitting the fitness center. Just know when to take breaks. Those are okay too!
  4. Know your limits. This might seem like it is contradicting "don't procrastinate", but sometimes you just need a little break. If you have been slaving away at dozens of pages of reading or chipping away at that lengthy essay, step back from your work and take a few minutes. Go for a walk, listen to some music, do some laundry, whatever it takes to clear your head a bit. Then go back and finish your assignments. Schoolwork is never fun, but it is even worse when you have been consistently doing the same monotonous work for hours. Do not work yourself too hard or else the stress will drive you crazy.
  5. Have fun! Whether you are living on campus, have an apartment, or are commuting, having fun is important. Going out with friends on a weekend is not going to make or break your college career. Learning how to balance your workload and personal life is vital. You can still have fun while you are in college. In fact, I recommend that you do! Just make sure you are being safe and smart about it.
I am in no way claiming that I am an expert at this. I've only been here for less than two months, but these are the things I have learned in the beginning of my first semester. If these have helped, let me know in the comments below, or if you have any other tips! Best of luck!

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