Wednesday, January 29, 2014

molly's college survival tips / vol. 1

Yesterday was my first day of spring semester, and wow I was exhausted by the time I was done. I'm not sure if it's because I took a semester off from college so it'll take me a while adjusting back into that mindset and time frame, but I'd thought I would share with you some tips that helped me get through previous semesters of college (and to refresh my own memory). These are just some of the things I've picked up along the way so I hope that it'll benefit someone out there, 

Not just the first couple of weeks. You know how it's always exciting and new during the first few weeks, and once that excitement dies down, everything else kind of dies along with it?

Organize and increase your productivity by using a daily planner, binders and dividers, notebooks, highlighters and pens (in different colors) and a pencil case to hold them all, sticky notes and post it notes, flashcards, etc. All of these things help me to stay motivated, productive, and organized. It may seem silly to some people that I have specific pens for writing and five different highlighters, but it helps. It's much easier to get to work if your space is organized and clean, and it helps to know where everything is instead of spending half an hour trying to find your papers.

They have them for a reason. They're there to help you. And it doesn't matter if you're in community college, your professors are just as knowledge and willing to help. When I first started college, I never really paid attention to my professors offering help through their office hours. Until I had my science class (when I started to visit my professors just about every day). I bumped up several letter grades by the end of the semester. If you have questions or just study advice, ask them for help.

Most professors give out a sheet to study for each unit (e.g. learning objectives, study guides, whatever they call them). I know it doesn't sound fun, but study ahead of time. Answer the study guide questions as you go along, review them everyday for half an hour (even 10 minutes help!), and stay on track. Because when finals come around and everyone else is running with their heads off trying to cram every last bit of information in their head, you'll already know the material.

If  you're only learning and memorizing a bunch of facts, what will you have by the end of the semester? A bunch of facts. Apply the information you learn to the real world; think about what you've learned in class and how it can apply in the real world. It's great that you can memorize a bunch of information, but so can the people around you. What will set you apart is being able to use that information to help you in the real world in real situations.

Why? There's several reasons such as being able to relax and unwind a few times throughout the wind (e.g. an art, fitness, or cooking class), having a heavy course will stress and overwhelm you (it'll always be about studying which is no fun unless you're into that), and it's always helpful and insightful to see what else is out there.

Everyone is different and has different needs. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you prefer having classes all day for a few days or classes everyday? Do you like using note cards or study guides? Do you like teachers who are mostly lecture based or teachers that will stop every so often to have a discussion or activity? Do you prefer marking things down in your textbook as you go along or writing things down in your notebook, or both? Find out what works for you.


I'm thinking about doing a monthly series of college tips just because there's so many things you could do, and I wish someone had told me some of these things before starting college and/or during my first few semesters of college. (P.S. If you couldn't tell, I'm really excited to be using Adobe Photoshop.)

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