studying

The Honest Guide to College

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.

Classes

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.

Homework

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.

NEVER PLAGIARIZE!!
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.

Tactics to Help you For Your Next Exam

They say that if want something underneath you must stoop. The saying applies in all life situations include academics. Passing exams is not easy if you do not do your part as a student. Most students feel pressured at the last minute when the exam timetable appears on different boards of the school. Those who are not prepared for exams look for ways to pass them without struggling. While others sneak in phones to surf during exams, some spend the evening before an exam trying to cram everything under the influence of drugs.

Studies show that last-minute rush can never make you achieve better than studying earlier. Even if it is normal to be anxious over a paper, proper preparation reduces such anxiety so that your mind remains focused. Some common signs of distress include inattentiveness, feeling blank, headache, increased heart rate and nausea. The following strategies will help you know how to handle such symptoms during a test so that you can maintain high performance.

Come up With Useful Study Habits

Avoid being the deadline student who gets confused about what course to prioritize at the last minute. With so many courses in one semester, you need a plan on how you should revise for each session as the semester begins. Instead of idling around the school compound enjoying life, find constructive friends and create a study group. Form a schedule for you and your study buddies to meet for group discussions regularly. This will help you understand something that a teacher may have rushed on in class.

Sharing ideas will also help you put concepts in real life scenarios so that you can have relevant examples in a test. You can also form a habit of taking notes in class. Even when the teacher uses slides and leaves class notes on the class email, there are some things that he might say that you won’t find in the notes. Jot down what you feel is important so that you can refer back later.

Avoid Cramming

Reduce stress by preparing early enough for your exams. Your brain cannot accommodate everything all at once. Cramming brings uncertainty and tension since you are likely to forget even the concepts that you were sure about. Spending a whole night cramming affects your nerves thus increase stress in the morning. Even if you are a bright student, take some time to read outside class so that your exam does not make you sweat.

Come up with ways of improving your memory so that you won’t feel the need to cram. Create mnemonics to help you remember concepts that you forget quickly. Regular reviewing of your notes prevents you from forgetting so that you don’t have to cram.

Stay Focused

Being in school comes with distractions from your friends. You may find it hard to concentrate on your studies while there is so much to do. Remember that the primary goal in school is to pass exams. Therefore, know how to prioritize your studies above everything else. Be the lady who sits in front in class so that you can concentrate during lectures. Do not feel intimidated to ask your lecturer questions if you don’t understand something. Your friends may find this weird but learn from you at the end of the semester when you beat them in exams.

Do Not Hesitate to Get Help

If you are the kind of student who believes in drugs to pass exams, you are ruining your life. Save yourself from addiction by visiting https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/local-rehab-resources/colorado/castle-rock/. This center will help you find better ways of dealing with anxiety as you detox from drugs. When you get back to school, avoid peer pressure from friends who try to sell you pills for you to stay focused while studying. Talk to a counselor if you are too anxious to sit for a paper and let them help you prepare better for exams.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Man is to err and no matter the pressure to succeed, sometimes we fail. Take failure positively and correct your errors so that you can do better on your next test. Instead of feeling sad, find answers where you went wrong on a test and take criticism positively. Let every situation be a learning experience for you.

Remain Relaxed

Taking a hard test is not the end of life. Ensure that you have everything ready a before your exam. Get to the room early so that you can get a spot that makes you comfortable. Avoid being late to an exam room since rushing makes you more nervous. Learn to relax by breathing before you start your paper. Switch your thoughts to something different so that you can calm down. Once your mind is refreshed, you can now turn your paper and start. It is time to focus without getting anxious as you avoid anything that might distract your thoughts. Avoid fellow students who show more panic and concentrate on keeping calm.

Join a Team

Every student should be a member of at least one team. You can teach yourself baseball, handball or basketball. Such sports make you keep busy after classes so that you can improve the functioning of your brain. Ensure that you spend an evening playing your favorite game before your exam. This will give you a clear mind so that you can wake up feeling rejuvenated for your test.

Eat Something

Taking an exam while hungry is not healthy for your mind. Ensure that you eat before entering an exam room. Take fruits such as a banana to reduce stress and tension. This does not mean that you take stuff such as fries or sodas. Such foods are known to increase anxiety levels, thus, avoid them.

Final Thoughts

Every student is bound to feel some level of anxiety. What differentiates these levels is how prepared one is. Quit looking for unhealthy shortcuts to pass exams and find ways to reduce test anxiety so that you can comfortably sit for a paper without sweating excessively. Implementing the strategies outlined above will not only help you as a student but also prepare you for life challenges in future.

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.

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