By Alex Hutchinson, Marketing Intern for American Made Dorm & Home.
One of the most difficult adjustments as a college freshman has to do with what we all actually go to college for. You likely guessed it: Education! Things like going to class, creating good study habits, and prepping for tests. For most, this will be the hardest adjustment.
In high school, you had a schedule set for you. In college, you set the pace and you make the decision to go or not to go every single day. You choose the classes you want, right down to the professor, the time of day, and how often it meets a week. The options are endless, and allow you to tailor your schedule to best suit you. That is definitely the best part about the academic side of college. The tricky part lies within your study habits. With so much freedom and time on your hands, it is tempting to put off all of your studying until the last minute (obviously so you can do more appealing things at the time). But beware, it could come back to bite you!! By reflecting on my time in college, I have put together a list of a few study tips you might find helpful.
- Get organized. Buy a planner, an agenda, a calendar, whatever you want to call it, and actually use it! I found that by color coding all of my activities/assignments it was much easier to keep track of everything. I would use a blue pen for class work, a green pen for my sorority, a purple pen for philanthropy events, a pink pen for social events, and so on. American Made Dorm has these great peel and stick wall message boards (and calendars) that come with a dry eraser. It's a great way to keep a daily study to do list because you can erase yesterday's list and jot down new things each day.
- Prioritize. This is a big one in college. There is always something fun going on around campus, whether you are involved in greek life, enjoy cheering on your school at sporting events, or are involved in a club on campus. In between all of this fun stuff, you can’t forget about your classwork. I found in order to be able to do it all, I had to spend my time wisely and plan ahead. Instead of laying around until your afternoon class starts or staying up until 1 AM watching your new favorite TV series, get your studying done then! Break it up into small segments. When the weekend finally arrives, you’ll be glad you did!
- Get a Study Buddy. Find a friend or someone in your major and study with them. It’s a lot easier to stay up until 3:00 AM if someone else is doing it with you. Even if it’s not for the same exam, it’s still good to have the company. If you are studying for the same exam, it’s a great way to quiz each other and talk through the material out loud. Sometimes hearing someone else’s perspective on the matter is all you need to clear up any confusions you may have in order to learn the material!
- Figure Out the Best Place To Study. If your dorm room is the place where everyone seems to gather, or if your roommate seems to have people over every minute of the day, you might decide that you just can't get anything done there (even if you set up your dorm desk in the best way possible to study!). Try the Library or a gathering room that's quiet. Find a space that is yours and that works for you. If the "place" you study becomes a habit, you'll study more often and probably more efficiently. It's just way better to go somewhere quiet and get it done than to be constantly interrupted by friends, music, or the TV.
- Don’t Cram. We all do it, and at the time it seems like a good idea. You can put off all your study until the night before and not worry a bit about it in the days leading up to the big exam. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, no matter how much you convince yourself, it is never a good idea! More than likely you’ll get to the exam and draw a blank, or you’ll remember reviewing that material, but just not enough to know the right answer. Trust me... this is very frustrating after putting in what seemed like countless hours at the time. You might even end up making on okay grade on the exam, but from my experience I could’ve always done a little bit better. So, take it from someone with experience, and study in advance! A few hours here and there throughout the week leading up to the exam is much more effective then ten hours straight the night before.