5 ASPECTS THAT IMPROVED MY COLLEGE SUCCESSFULNESS I can still clearly recall my first visit to a college class.
A thousand miles from home, I was a 17-year-old girl with some brand-new notebooks who had no idea what was going to happen.
Evidently, I was also unaware of what was about to strike me.
It’s probably reasonable to say that my first year of college was a learning process rather than just an experience. A voyage that will help me improve not only as a student but also as a person.
I was among those who believed that attending college could be done in the same manner as attending high school.
Even though it took me a while to really figure out what would work for me and make it easier for me to succeed in college, I felt like I had a much better handle on my academic strategy after my first year.
And for that, I’m grateful for the following five things.
I doubt I would be where I am today, a master’s degree graduate who supports other students in academic success, if I hadn’t made these changes.
1. I CHANGED THE SCHEDULING OF MY CLASSES During my first year of college, those dreadful 8 a.m. classes truly knocked me for six.
I took an extra morning class in high school, and I was so used to getting there at 7:15 every morning that I signed up for such an early class.
However, I was unaware that high school and college did not always translate on an equal level.
In addition to feeling more lethargic, I didn’t feel like my brain was functioning at its peak capability at 8 a.m.
But even it wasn’t the worst aspect.
It should have been terrible enough that it was an 8 a.m. session, but on top of that, it was a math class. My worst subject ever.
Naturally, I didn’t have any classes at 8 a.m. during my sophomore year.
In order to give myself an extra day to relax, prepare for tests the following week, and finish any tasks that were due, I even avoided scheduling classes on Fridays (if that was even feasible).
I found that I was considerably more awake in class and that my grades significantly improved once I adjusted my college schedule to account for my sleep and study needs.
The lesson of the tale is to pay attention to your body and thoughts. Don’t register for a class at a specific time only to be with a friend or for another reason. Later, you’ll appreciate yourself.
2. I only participated in a maximum of two clubs. My first week of college I guess I joined ten different on-campus clubs.
I was eager to participate in at least a few of the 200 activities my school offered.
I had everything planned out in my head: I would go to step on Mondays, run on Tuesdays, participate in intramurals on the day the games were scheduled, etc.
Yes, the idea was successful for about a week.
I then began to experience the heat from my classes. The test dates were getting closer and closer, and I started to have an increasing amount of homework required.
But I didn’t want to abandon the goals I had set for myself.
My priorities were definitely a little off.
I had neglected the major reason I went to college in the first place: to earn a degree so I could begin a career in a profession I’m passionate about because I had wanted to be a part of the communities on campus so desperately.
So, even though it was painful to back out of some of the activities I had previously committed to, I realized I had to if I wanted to maintain my academic standing.
I didn’t know it at the time, but limiting my commitment to just two things improved my community involvement. With the other members of those two clubs, I started to become more friends with them, and I made genuine connections with people.
3. I ADDED MORE HOURS TO MY JOB You probably glanced at this one and said, “What?!”
Working extra hours really forced me to establish a better routine, which improved my time management. I’m aware that this probably doesn’t make much sense when you read it.
I had to, which is the real reason I started to put in longer hours while I was in college. I didn’t really have a choice because I was paying all of my payments and I also wanted to start paying off one of my student loans early.
It’s odd because I discovered that during that process that I was actually growing better and better at managing my time and completing tasks.
I did so since I was aware that I had commitments to fulfill and that I didn’t have a lot of free time to do so.
I came to understand that I truly perform well under pressure at this point. The push I required to get to work came from seeing a deadline and realizing how much time I had to get ready before it arrived.
Your circumstance can be quite different.
I want you to take away from this that if you have anything in your calendar that cannot be changed for any reason, you are almost compelled to start managing your time better.
Telling your brain, “Hey, we HAVE to do this at this time, so you best get your stuff done now,” is a straightforward yet effective strategy.
4. I TRIED HARDER TO CONTACT MY PROFESSORS. This topic has been covered extensively in prior pieces, but I felt the need to revisit it because it had such a significant impact on my time in college.
I am aware that it could be challenging to connect with each of your professors, particularly if they teach chemistry and you are majoring in advertising.
The truth is that your instructors often have hundreds of more students that enter and exit their classroom each day. If you don’t try to at least say hello once in a while, they won’t know anything about you.
Even more truth: You’re doing yourself a HUGE disservice if you don’t interact with the professors who instruct classes in your major.
These are the individuals who may subsequently provide letters of recommendation for you, network with you for job openings, put you in touch with neighbors, etc.
Did I also mention that they are in charge of your grade?
Yes, these individuals are crucial.
I discovered how much of an impact my instructors could have on my progress in college until I calmed down and actually started talking to them.
During my junior year, I particularly remember struggling in two classes.
Fortunately, I had developed a relationship with the professors from day one, so when I confided in them that I was having trouble with the assignments, they were really understanding and offered me some advice on how to strengthen my work.
Without talking to my teachers, there is no way in the world that I could have received A grades in those classes.
I challenge you to make an effort to get in touch with at least one professor this week, either in person or via email, simply to say hello, let them know how much you’re enjoying their class, and to let them know if there is anything additional you would like to learn.
5. I JOINED A REWARDS SYSTEM. That’s correct I enticed myself with rewards to do tasks.
I still recall how horrible it was to see five deadlines that were all one week apart. In all honesty, it was nearly incapacitating.
It was quite tempting to simply curl up in bed and ignore everything on my to-do list.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to help, and the task wasn’t going to get done on its own, so I had to come up with a solution.
I finally made the decision to start rewarding myself.
For me, the prospect of taking a break after a predetermined period of study time served as sufficient incentive to at least begin an assignment or a piece of reading.
I used to convince myself that if I studied for 30 minutes, after that I could talk to my family on the phone or do something else for a little while.
At first, it was a little challenging, especially with Facebook nearby, but I felt better knowing that I was making progress.
Sometimes, the smallest mental techniques can have a huge impact.
FIX IT IF SOMETHING DOESN’T WORK! I strongly advise you to take a moment and list all the things you believe are going wrong if you’re struggling to succeed in college.
Do you find it difficult to concentrate in class? Do you submit homework after the due date?
Whatever it is, note it down and think about what is causing these results for a bit.
For instance, do you find it difficult to concentrate because you are fatigued or because you have something else on your mind? Do you submit assignments after the due date because you forgot?
Continue to dissect these concepts until you reach their core, which is the point at which you may begin making improvements.
Don’t feel obligated to make all the repairs at once. Adaptation takes time… Before you can gaze up at the remainder of the staircase, you may sometimes simply need to concentrate on step one.
Need support? Visit Stress-Free Scheduling, an online course for college students who want to use their time more effectively.