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How to Succeed in College: Everything I Learned in Four Years

CharlieF 0

In my four years of going to college, I learned so many things. Not just through lectures but from the experience of being a college student. I lived at home and only had to drive seven minutes to get to class. This helped so much with money! I actually had a decent amount of money that I didn’t really identify with the typical “broke college student”. I also have a hard time being away from home so this became a big part of why I decided to not go away for school. (stay tuned for my why you should live at home for college post.. coming soon!) From all the four years, which flew by.. by the way, I grew and changed so much. From everyday moments with my friends in the cafeteria “studying” while eating fried food (which I highly regret now). To the day of graduation, when all of my hard work felt worth it. I’d like to share with you what I learned during my four years at an university. Here are 15 tips that you should know!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re completely lost or confused don’t wait until the last possible moment to see your professor. This is college, nobody is going to go out of their way to help you. Professors give out their office hours on day one.. make sure to use them.
  • Try and leave your high school days behind you. You may have been voted most athletic or most likely to succeed during your senior year. But, in college there’s no competitions for titles and that’s what’s so great. You have the opportunity to make a new name for yourself one that will make your parents proud. College graduate, make this your focus.. and you will find good people along the way.
  • Ask people about their favorite professors. Once I asked and started to take those classes that were recommended by other students, I started to enjoy school more. I actually began to learn more once I took classes based off of professors. I went to a very small school.. one of my English classes only had like 11 people. Our professor constantly took us out for lunch (and paid!) while also “lecturing”.
  • Get to know your professors. Once you know who is cool and who is not.. don’t just sit silently the two hours you have to be there. Having a positive relationship with a professor makes a big difference for the outcomes of the class. They are your best bet when it comes to succeeding. They can help you pass and hopefully help you do it stress free!
  • If you’re trying to decide on taking classes that aren’t for your major there’s nothing wrong with taking easy A ones! Once you graduate and start applying to jobs.. employers will notice your great GPA, regardless if you took a few easy courses.
  • Treat your syllabus like your bible. At the beginning of every semester all professors will hand a syllabus with step-by-step ways to pass their class. As soon as you receive your syllabi sit down and write everything in a planner. Better yet, add all important due dates into your phone!
  • Do not buy your books! Always, always check to see if someone on campus has purchased the books you need. If you can’t find someone who has the books you need then check online. I liked to rent my textbooks on Amazon. They don’t seem to cost very much and they provide shipping labels when it’s time to return them.
  • Start study groups. I learned so much more studying with a group of classmates than I ever did on my own. Talking and explaining what you’re learning to other people helps the information get stored in your memory. I personally have such a hard time reading out of a text-book when I study. A study group gives you the chance to quiz each other. Try and stay focused though, it is super easy to start talking about other things.
  • Freshmen fifteen is real, I tell you, REAL! I think my weight gain started with my new college caffeine consumption. I frequently stopped by coffee shops for a latte and flavored redbull. My consumption became really bad around midterms and even worse for finals week! Not only did the drinks have way more extra calories than I needed.. they started to mess with my sleep. No sleep slowed my metabolism way down. Try drinking caffeinated green tea if you really do need an energy boost. Try utilizing your school’s gym as well.
  • Don’t skip classes too often. Yes there might be a day when you are so sick you don’t want to get out of bed, and that’s ok. Do your best to go to your classes as often as possible. There really are things you can’t learn from your textbook. My freshmen year I skipped my psychology class too many times to count. I passed, but as a result I remember nothing!
  • Get a tutor if you need one. Start by asking your professor for any suggestions of previous students. Next check with the university’s tutor center. There’s no shame in wanting extra help. Plus the school’s tutors are paid to help you.. so take advantage of the school paying, instead of you.
  • Work hard and don’t party too hard. By that I mean, college is fun and all but don’t let the fun get out of control. You are there for one reason, and one reason only.. to get a degree. Your education is costing someone whether its you, your parents, or the state. It’s a lot of money. Don’t waste it!
  • Consider getting a major and a minor if you have more than one interest. Having only a major is fine too and won’t hurt your job chances. If you love English and science equally, there’s no reason that you can’t study both. Employment has a lot to do with experience and the ability to learn than it has to do with what you majored in.
  • Learn what you need to in class when it’s taught.. rather than cramming to learn it before a test. There’s no reason to come to class if you’re just going to sit there and zone everything out. This is what causes major stress when you are trying to study for finals. Show up to class and make an effort to take notes and actually learn.

And lastly,

  • Get familiar with different citations. Nothing ruins a paper like bad citations. Whether its APA or MLA know what you professor wants and learn how to do it. I liked using the website sonofacitationmachine. Just google it.. and plug in the requested information and it creates citations fo you! 🙂

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