Believe it or not, you may not have worked your hardest in high school. Sure, it may have gotten you into college, but there really wasn't a lot of time for you to study and do much of anything besides eat, sleep and go to school, especially if you were involved in extracurriculars. Think about it, you're up at 6 a.m. or earlier, you go to school for seven hours straight, you have two or three hours of some sort of club or sport you're involved in after that, you come home, eat dinner, watch TV for about three minutes and all of a sudden it's 11 p.m. and you're exhausted.
College is a completely different ballgame, but it's only going to be as good as you make it. You have so much free time, because you don't have as many classes throughout the day and you basically decide your entire fate. You could be stressed beyond belief, but you don't have to be if you figure out what works for you. You could very well get the best grades you've gotten since Kindergarten (we were all stick-figure artists and coloring geniuses at one point), even at this level of higher education.
1. Use a Planner
The best way to stay organized is to know when things are due and get them done on time. Best way to do this? Use a planner! Physically crossing out what you've completed can relieve stress, and it feels so good to get things done. Not only is it going to benefit you to know today's to-do's, it can also be a creative outlet in many ways depending on how you structure and design it. Who says organization can't be fun?
2. Budget Your Free-Time Wisely
College means you have a lot of free-time, but how you spend that time is crucial to getting good grades. You could binge-watch an entire season of 'Gilmore Girls', or you could get your homework out of the way now so you can de-stress completely later.
3. Try to Go to Sleep Before Midnight
Getting sleep is extremely important and having a standard sleep schedule is even more so. Not only is this going to help you feel more alert and awake when you're attending classes (i.e. allowing you to more effectively absorb information), it can also prevent you from getting sick. And as we are all well aware, getting sick in college may as well be a guaranteed GPA drop: once you miss a few classes or assignments, you're in trouble.
4. Study a Few Days in Advance
No one really enjoys studying, but you can retain more of the information you need for a test or presentation if you don't try to cram the night before. You can also master your information better if you review it multiple times with a fresh mind. Going over the same things for hours can be too repetitive and tire your brain, but if you give yourself some space and study a few days ahead, you'll find that the information sticks better.
5. Know How You Study
Along with this, it's so important to know what studying methods work for you. Some people make outlines, some read over their notes a few times, I personally make flashcards, but especially now with tools like Quizlet, it's easy to study efficiently in a way that works for you and your learning type.
6. Give Yourself Time in the Morning
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so eat it, and give yourself time to do so. Not only this, it's important to give yourself time in the morning to make sure you're ready for the day. Make sure you've got all of your assignments printed, make sure you get your coffee if you need it and make sure you get to class on time; giving yourself a little time in the morning can give you enough time for all of this, and reduce your stress as well.
7. Be Prepared
Along with waking up and giving yourself enough time to be prepared, having your assignments done before class is a major stress-reducer, and can help you get better grades. Prepare for tougher assignments by planning them out in advance, and even if you're probably going to present Thursday, be ready in case no one shows up and you have to present Tuesday. Never underestimate the power of being overly prepared, one of those times, it could save your grade.
8. Don't Procrastinate
No one wants to do the homework right as they get out of class, but sometimes, it can be the most beneficial, especially in college when your work piles up quickly. Saving your work until the last minute or the day before it's due can really hurt you and your grades, and chances are, the quality of what you're putting out isn't going to be as good because you just want to get it done. Stay on top of your work; you'll do better on your assignments and you'll thank yourself later.
9. Know Your Motivation
Everyone goes to college for different reasons, but whether you want to be a doctor, a teacher or an engineer, you need to keep in mind your long-term and short-term goals in order to do well. If you need a certain class for your major, and you want to do well in it, motivate yourself to get a good grade and study hard in that class. Smaller goals like this will contribute to your larger goals, but if you don't know what your goals are or aren't passionate about them, sometimes you may not be as motivated to try as hard in school.
College can be extremely difficult and the workload is taxing on anyone, but when you implement the right steps and know what you're working for, you can get the best grades you've ever gotten. Nothing is out of reach.
Lead Image Credit: Melanie Haid