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Start Strong, Finish Stronger – Katianne Brockpahler

It seems unreal that it’s been three years since freshman move-in day. I remember having so many different expectations on how to succeed academically in college, both realistic and unrealistic. Now as a senior, I have begun to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned, as well as things I need to improve. You can definitely take them or leave them, but below are some tips and tricks I believe are helpful to keep in mind when starting a new academic year.

Adjust your schedule around when YOU are the most productive and creative.

We all know that retaining information and staying focused isn’t always easy. Personally, I’ve found that I am the most productive early in the morning and lose more focus at night, so I choose to do my hardest tasks early. Some may work best at 2 am, while others may find that an hour before it’s due does the trick (hey, we’ve all been there). What’s important is finding what works best for you.

Prioritize EVERYTHING.

Sometimes classes can be overwhelming. Maybe you originally planned to read every footnote of every chapter of the unit you’re studying, but time is running short and you don’t think you can do it all. In this case, prioritize what you think will most likely help your grade and knowledge of the subject matter. If you have two tests the next day for two different classes, spend a little more time on the subject that doesn’t come as easy to you. Even sleep and social time can take priority. Realizing what is most important to you can help immensely.

Procrastinate productively.

I’ve found that when I really need a brain break from studying and homework, I feel much better when my breaks are constructive. Examples could be cleaning your dorm, getting some exercise, baking some muffins for your friends, calling your mom, etc. Getting something else done that is beneficial to you or others will make you feel miles better than binge watching Netflix by yourself, no matter how tempting that sounds.

Organize your life in a method that works best for you.

Whether that means having a color-coded planner or messy piles on your desk, find your system and make it work.

Intern, volunteer, study abroad, tutor, etc.

You can’t learn everything in a classroom setting. I believe applying your learning in a different way can expand your horizons in ways you might not have thought possible. I’ve had a few internships that have taught me so many things about the workplace, and I’m forever grateful to have had those experiences.

Paying attention in class = less time spent on homework.

Less time spent on homework = more fun.
‘Nuff said.

Find a balance.

Of course staying motivated and determined is immensely important for success in college, but placing all of your focus on academic success and achievements isn’t beneficial to your life as a whole. Take time to improve other areas of your life, spend more time with friends, and make time for yourself.

Don’t take life too seriously.

Dwelling on the hardships and mistakes is never the answer. Laugh about them, and then learn from them.

I know I have a lot more to discover in this last year of college, but my goal will be to keep these tips in mind so that I can begin the year strong. After all, you never have to recover from a great start!

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Posted:September 2, 2016


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