I’m not going to lie, sometimes college can be a lot. After my first year, and befriending quite a few upperclassmen, I’ve learned some helpful trick that has helped keep me sane and on top of things. So I thought I’d pass them on! Also, I essentially consider this part one of the honest guide to college, this one will be all about scheduling classes, going to them, and homework. I’m sure part two will come soon!
Scheduling Classes – Take a full load, but remember to keep it balanced.
Don’t schedule all of your tough classes in a single semester
I learned this hard way in the spring of my freshman year when attempting to tackle Human Physiology and Human Kinesiology (which had a lab). I then received amazing advice from my physiology professor in the summer when I re-took the class after dropping it in the spring. He shared the advice: “Science is like liquor, you don’t mix your -ology’s just like you don’t mix your liquors”
Try to schedule it so that you have a variety of homework.
Nothing’s worse than being bogged down by a bunch of writing heavy courses, it’s best if you can have a mix. Some writing, tests, and worksheets are best to help break it up and not burn you out.
Speak to your advisor before scheduling classes
They’re there for a reason, to help guide you and make sure you stay on track. Plus, they also know if a class is easy, hard, writing-heavy, etc.
Keep in mind you WILL NEED time for homework and online classes when making your schedule
Which might mean choosing not to have classes on certain days, putting a two-hour break in between classes, or having all of your classes in the afternoon so you can study the mornings
If possible, keep your personality in mind when picking times
Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid 8AMs, but if you’re not truly a morning person and can schedule the class later in the day, do so! Due to my major, I had 8AMs both semesters freshman year, and I had friends who either fell asleep in class, were late, or missed because they just weren’t morning people.
Be sure to have a plan for eating meals!
Some professors will allow you to bring your lunch into class, but I prefer to have a break during lunch so I can relax while I eat.
Never go to class without a bottle of water and a pen and notebook
It’s amazing how much water you will drink throughout your day. Between walking around campus to class, all the time spent in class, etc. It’s good to have a bottle so you can get a drink without missing class. Plus, despite being a person who types all of their notes on their laptop, the number of times I’ve had a professor require us to take out a pen and piece of paper is amazing! So before leaving your dorm/apt before heading to class, ensure you have a water bottle, notebook, and pen!
If it’s a workday and you’re given the option to leave class and work elsewhere, actually use that time to work.
Freshman fall semester, my 8 AM was a class that was worksheet heavy, and my professor would give workdays, and I never took them, and would sleep in and would do it later – on Tuesday it was my only class, and on Thursday I had a night lab. But I wouldn’t have been able to do that in the spring.
Sit wherever you’re comfortable!
Most posts say to sit up front, but I where I sit depends on the class. If it’s a major related course, I sit closer to the front, but if it’s a block/gen ed class I sit further back. Also if you fidget or get up during class, sit further back to not distract others!
After the third class (usually), seats may as well be assigned
After the third class – roughly first week – whatever seat you’ve sat In is now yours. Don’t move and throw everyone else off unless you absolutely have to. Keep in mind this may not always be the case. My freshman evolutionary biology class constantly moved around even when we took our final.
Always be respectful and kind to your professors, TA’s, and classmates
Professors and TA’s are there to help you, and truly want you to succeed in the class, and there’s no reason to not be nice to your classmates. You could possibly make a friend, or just have someone to help you out with notes if you miss class.
Make at least one friend in every class
You don’t have to be BFFs, but chat with the person you sit beside every class so that you have someone to study or share notes with if you need to.
Unlike high school, you really can’t skip homework!
Homework in college piles up quickly and tends to be worth a decent percentage of your grade. Plus, they tend to be a bit bigger projects or papers, that consume quite a bit of time. It’s best to stay on top of it!
Break larger projects up into smaller deadlines
By doing so, it makes it easier to work on and helps prevent you from leaving it until the last minute
If a class has a lot of worksheets as homework, start a study group!
This is really helpful in math classes, especially if you get stuck on a problem cause then you have others who may be able to help.
Try to start homework as soon as you get it!
This is a big help! Try and start your homework once you get back from classes for the day, to ensure it gets done and doesn’t get pushed off till the last minute.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether it’s from your professor, TAs, tutors, or classmates. Don’t be afraid to go to them and ask for help.
Don’t ignore the syllabus!
As soon as you get the syllabus, enter all of the due dates into your planner. If you want to go the extra mile (hint: you do), go ahead and add in dates to start working on projects, too.
Work ahead, so you have flexibility in your schedule
– Work ahead, so you have time to hang out with your friends at the last minutes instead of being stuck in the library working on a project that’s due first thing in the morning.
I can’t stress this enough! It’s the fastest way to get kicked out of class, your program, or even school. If you’re not sure if it needs a citation, it needs a citation.
Number one rule
Do all of your work and do it the best you can. As long as you follow that, you’ll be golden.
Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.