With most students in school right now (not me yet, hehe), I felt it was only necessary to share my deepest darkest secrets on how to be successful in school.
“But Natalia, you’re just an average college junior. What do you know?”
Wellll…In my past two years in college, I have gone above and beyond to succeed. I graduated High School with a 3.1 GPA. I am entering my 3rd year of college with a 3.86 GPA. No, I am in no way stating this to brag. I just think I’d seem a hell of a lot more trustworthy if I shared my college success tips with my own GPA to support my statements. Makes sense, right?
I am definitely not the smartest person in the world. I don’t think that you need to be a genius to get awesome grades. I have found that it just takes some motivation, determination, and lots of hard work. Yeah, lots of cliches, but I wouldn’t be saying it if it wasn’t true.
Now, there is the stereotype that all (successful) college students stay up all night, drink 10 cups of coffee per day, and are stressed 24/7 beyond belief. Is being successful in school really worth that misery?
No. But most importantly, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Guess what: I have never pulled an all-nighter.
I never drink coffee. (don’t confuse that with the fact that I actually have a coffee recipe in the works….)
I’m not stressed 24/7 (only 14/6).
How do I stay successful in school without stressing myself out, becoming sleep deprived, and dependent on caffeine?
Well, I’ll tell you. Keep in mind that my advice does not replace any professional advice. I can’t guarantee that what I do works for everyone, but I do think it is worthy to share my own experiences and advice in hopes that you can take something away from it.
My goal is to show you that being successful in school doesn’t have to make you miserable. Also, it’s not really that hard to do well. Want to know why? Just keep on reading.
1. Avoid All-Nighters
The latest I have ever stayed up for school was 12:30…once. Other than that, I am usually in bed by a decent hour. I think a huge mistake students make is underestimating the importance of sleep. Proper rest is so important for success in school because it keeps you energized, focused, and keeps your brain working efficiently. I recommend getting your work done early in the evening so that you have the rest of the night to relax and rest. If you avoid procrastination and use your time well (more on that next), you are much less likely to need to stay up all night to finish your schoolwork.
2. Time Management
I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but I can’t stress this enough: time management is the secret to success in college. I have had those days where I am just not in the mood to get anything done, and I end up wasting precious time! My sophomore year, I swore to spend 6 hours a day, 5 days per week to work on homework, and I got everything done. I was able to take some weekends off, which made me feel so grateful for the work I got done early on. Yeah, the weekdays were stressful, but it payed off when I was able to relax. Put in the time that you need, and you will be less stressed, and you may find that your grades are much better as well.
3. Take a Day Off
I think that burnout is what really causes a decline in academic performance. You’ve been working so hard for countless hours every single day. I’d get sick of it as well. That is why I force myself to take 1 day off from school. I figure that I can catch up if I need to, and if I manage my time well, I should be able to take the time off with no issues. Continuing to have fun will make your time at school much less miserable. Go to the movies, hang out with your friends, spend a few hours watching a show. Leave town for the weekend. Do what you need to do to avoid burnout. Take some time off and do something that you want to do. Personally, I love taking Sundays off to watch football with my boyfriend. Also, I like to take weekend nights off sometimes to go to a bar with friends or do anything else that interests me. I also take time to workout, which clears my mind and makes me feel less stressed. Sometimes the best things you can do for your college success has nothing to do with schoolwork whatsoever. Don’t work yourself too hard.
4. Relate to the Content
We all have to take classes that don’t really interest us. However, I think that attitude is what makes or breaks the experience. Example, I’m not a huge chem fan, but once I started to think about the fact that chemistry to linked to virtually everything in everyday life, the subject began to intrigue me. While I still didn’t ace the class, I did end up doing much better than I thought I would in the beginning. This is because I not only sucked it up and just did the work, but also tried to find enjoyment in learning and at times, even found myself being somewhat interested in the content. You don’t have to pretend to love every subject you learn, but finding a way to see something interesting about it or applying the learning material to how it can relate to everyday life can really make a difference in how you see the class, and ultimately, your final grade.
5. Plan Ahead
I love planning out my day. I find that I get so much more done (even if I can’t always stick to my schedule 100%). Not only do I plan which hours of the day I will do homework, I also set an intention on what exactly I am going to get done. To me, “study” is too vague for planning. Making specific plans to work on specific assignments is what will ultimately help you get stuff done. No, you don’t have to plan every little thing you do, but having a general idea of your day and what you’d like to accomplish is a great way to reach your goals and stay organized.
College is as difficult as you make it (though professors don’t help). If you put in your time and effort, yeah, it’ll be stressful, but it’ll be worth it. Regardless of what happens, you are always more than your numbers and you are always capable of whatever you set your mind to. Yeah, I know I’m giving you endless cliches, but they exist for a reason. College is hard, college is fun, college is worth it in most cases. If you want to succeed, you will. Put in the work, and you will be rewarded.
I believe in you, so there’s that!
I am looking forward to this next school wear, and hopefully I can put my own advice to some good use!
Good luck this year and beyond!