After finishing my first year of university, I realized that there were a lot of things that I wish someone had told me or things that people did tell me that I wish I had actually listened to. So, I have decided that instead of you guys having to figure all of these tips and tricks to survival in college/university all by yourself, I will make a series of posts about things that I learned and think you should all know. You’re welcome people.
I’m not going to begin with a college packing list because there are already millions out there that you can find but here is my favorite: Her Campus: Best College Packing List Ever. Now, that list is something I wish I had my freshman year. Instead, I just chose to buy absolutely every unnecessary item you can think of, including a toaster and oven mitts. I later learned that there was a kitchen in residence that had a toaster and they were not allowed inside rooms. Also, I did not bake once while in res. Instead, my midnight snacks consisted mainly of microwavable Kraft Dinner. I probably should have researched a little bit before or something. Oh well!
Anyways, I’m going to start off by talking about time management. First semester of university was a lot easier than I had imagined. I had a social life, my grades were good, and life was perfect…until the month of exams came around and I realized that I was a couple of weeks behind on ALL of my readings from EVERY single class. After that realization, I think a part of me died inside. You cannot imagine how real the struggle was. I practically had to learn everything from every class during the time I should have just been reviewing it. Lord was I a mess! I managed to still maintain a high GPA first semester but it wasn’t without endless days and nights of studying and zero communication with anyone around me. However, after learning a little secret that I will share with all of you, I changed all of that second semester. I still had a very good social life that included going to parties and events, attended meetings and wrote for the Her Campus chapter at my school AND did not fall behind on readings.
Tip #1: Don’t just do the readings you have to for your assignments. Do ALL of them so that once exam time comes around, you won’t be struggling with catching up as much as I did. I tried to find a loop-hole and failed. Stop being lazy and just do them people.
So, you want to know the secret I learned? Here it is: Treat school like it is your job. Schedule your classes around a 9am-5pm schedule. You can adjust this according to what suits you best and what is possible for you. My classes began at 8:30am and so I adjusted those timings to a 8am-4:30pm day. This is your schedule for the weekdays and any extra time you have in-between your classes, you will be at the library completing any readings or upcoming assignments. Note that this is only for weekdays. And trust me, this saved my life. I realized how much extra time I had in-between my classes where I used to just goof off or watch Netflix, but getting all of my work done along with my classes on Monday-Friday from the hours of 8am-4:30pm meant that I had weekends off for social activities and my nights solely for doing whatever I wanted — *cough cough* writing.
Again for some people, a 9-5 schedule isn’t possible, so adjust the timings to those that will suit you best. This is something no one told me and many don’t even think of, but it works and I’ll tell you from experience that it works pretty damn well. Did I have to catch up on readings once during second semester? No. Did I leave any assignments to last minute? No. Did I get to keep a well-adjusted social life through all of this? Oh yes!
To keep your schedule intact, make sure you keep an agenda/planner and actually use it! I never used a planner in high school but in university, it is a necessity. This is where you schedule your classes, what you’ll be working on in the library, when you’re going to the gym, and your to-do list. Your agenda is your life.
Tip #2: As a motive to keep up with your agenda, use a variety of colored pens and sticky notes to make it appealing to you. It totally makes a difference!
Stay tuned for more posts that are coming up for the College Survival Series and good luck to all of you incoming freshman or upper year students! I’ll leave you all with two questions: