So, you just got accepted into a college, and you already have your assigned place in your college dorms. Within a week or two of college life, you start to learn about how important managing your time is. There are papers to be written and parties and club meetings to be attended and enjoyed, not to mention the hours of sleep that is needed.
College life basically revolves around three priorities, grades, social life and sleep. You will often hear that you can only choose two out of these three choices.
We at College Cliffs reject that.
You can get all three if you have good time management skills. The secret on how to survive college is efficiency. If you want to enjoy your time and get good grades and forge a great social network, then time is your friend and enemy.
Here are a few tips that you can use to get school, social life and sleep balance.
- Learn how to live with your roommates and classmates
- Know how to take good study notes
- Answer your tests efficiently
- Use good studying techniques
- Always remember to Take a Break!
Learn how to live with your roommates and classmates
If you want to survive and thrive in college, you also have to take care of your social circle. The people you will spend most of your time with will be your roommates and your classmates.
The best rule for social situations is fences make good neighbors. Make people know what the limits are, and you should also respect theirs. This is very important when you are sharing a room. It is recommended that you talk to your roommate and discuss on what your duties are. If your roommate will not listen, you can ask to be transferred.
For classmates, sharing is caring, and we do not only mean study notes, but time as well. Having a study out is a great idea, especially for the kinesthetic and auditory learners.
However, there is one thing that should be considered as the golden rule: Respect and compromise are key. Once you have mastered respecting others for their opinions and tastes, as well as compromising without having your principles stepped on.
Know how to take good study notes
Surviving college classes requires that you have good study notes. Making good study notes takes time and skill, and we have discussed it in-depth in our article here.
A good tip would be to know which note-taking technique and format will be the most effective for you, from the Cornell method to the classic paragraph form. Another great technique would be to use better resources, like highlighters and specialized notebooks. However, the most important thing to remember when you are taking notes is that you should listen more and write less; study notes are study guides, not transcripts.
You can buy study notes online, or share notes with your classmates. However, the best study guide will always be your personal notes, since every student has their own learning pace. Read about what study note techniques and do it on every lecture. Once you do that, you can be assured that your study notes will serve you very well in getting good grades.
Answer your tests efficiently
Tests have a big impact on your GPA, and surviving and graduating from college rely a lot on your examinations. While mastery of the subject matter is important, there are other ways to further improve your test results. Knowing how to efficiently answer the test questions can help you write down the answers faster and more accurately.
For instance, skimming the test for 30 seconds to a minute before you answer will allow you to strategize on how to move forward. Time management is also important, and focusing on which questions to answer will allow you to answer more even if you have limited time. It is also recommended that you finish at least 5 minutes before the time runs out so that you can review your answers.
Other more practical tips would be to answer the easier questions first and then answer the more difficult questions later. Answering essay-type questions have their own techniques, as well as tests that use multiple choices and fill in the blanks. A more in-depth article can be found here.
Use good studying techniques
No matter how good your study notes are or how skilled you are in answering a test, you still need to study. Studying is a skill too, and it can definitely be developed through constant practice.
The important thing to do first is to know what kind of learner are you. A big chunk of the population are visual learners, where they can learn faster if they see the said material. One technique they can do is to make Idea maps or flowcharts.
Others are auditory learners, who learn faster when sound is present. They can learn better if they teach or read aloud words, and are very good at retaining things that they have heard. They can retain more information by making acronyms or making chants and songs with the subject matter as lyrics.
Lastly, kinesthetic learners learn by acting or doing. Making hand gestures and body movements are typical of these students. They can learn better if they write a lot or make memorable gestures like flipping a page. Moving can help kinesthetic learners retain information.
Always remember to Take a Break!
One of the best advice you can listen to is to do all things in moderation. Whether it be partying, sleeping and studying, proper allotting time to an activity is key to enjoying college life. A simple but effective way is to budget 8 hours for each of these three. Also, always have a day off in a week to prevent burn out.
Studying is like working out; the results that you want are apparent only after you rest. You build muscles during your rest after exercising and your brain starts to process and retain information when you rest after studying. That is why it is recommended to take a short break or nap after studying for long.
College can be one of the most enjoyable or the most dreaded time of your life. The general rule for surviving college is simply moderation in all things. Follow this and you will have a college life that you will always remember fondly.