We recently asked four Edgewood College students what advice they would give to new students as they transition from high school to college. We’re pleased that our sample includes a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. Here’s their advice.
All my advice will probably seem very obvious, but there are some easily overlooked basics when it comes to studying. First: get organized. I was fairly disorganized my freshman year. I never used a planner or an assignment notebook back in high school. My homework would be written down on random pages of spirals and all my papers were hanging out somewhere in a backpack or desk drawer.
Since I started using a calendar/planner after freshman year, I’ve been much more organized in general. It seems obvious enough, but I know some who still don’t use one, even as college gets more hectic towards graduation. I can’t imagine balancing readings, papers, exams, work, and events without seeing it written down in front of me. Keep a nice filing system and a folder for each class in your room. You’ll be much less stressed when it’s time to sit down and write a paper. It helps with procrastination, too.
Another basic tip: it’s best to get work done in complete solitude. Maybe some quiet music, but definitely no TV. Take a couple breaks while writing a big exam. Reward yourself after getting a significant portion done, or after tackling some monumental argument in the paper. It helps to step back from your work a little bit and collect the thoughts so you can return to it a little more clear-headed.
1. Time Management – College schedules are a lot different than high school. It may seem like you have a lot more free time during the day, but it’s easy to stretch yourself too thin with things like homework, work, and keeping up with friends and relationships. If you can have a pretty good weekly schedule and stick to it (for the most part), getting things done will be a lot easier.
2. Meet everyone you can – If you start out being friendly and introducing yourself to the people around you, forming friendships will become easier. At move-in, walk around, look at other people’s rooms and get to know your neighbors, as well as people from other dorms. Edgewood is small enough that it’s easy to keep up with the people you meet and it’s more than likely you’ll see them again and again throughout college.
3. Be patient – Things don’t always go the why one would want them to, and college is no exception. It’s challenging trying to adjust to new people, new buildings, new food, and schoolwork on top of regular life. But it’s important to remember everything takes time to get used to, and patience is key.
When it comes to studying, I think every college student faces the same problem: procrastination. I’m guilty of it, and I’ve heard all my friends complain about it, too. With all the free time that comes with college, it’s so easy to opt to do something relaxing and fun rather than study. Every week I see people cramming study time into their Sunday nights after they put it off all weekend, or pulling an all nighter before a big exam. The best way to avoid this is time management. For me, making a schedule and sticking to it is about the only thing that works. I have to keep my schedule pretty tight; otherwise I tend to ignore homework until the last minute.
Study groups help a lot, because if you set aside a time to work on homework with someone, you’re less likely to blow it off. Also, there are tutoring services on campus that are very helpful, too. If you find you need to pull your grade up, or just need help with an assignment, they are there to help. Professors are really good about being available to help as well.
Personally, if I really want to get anything done, I have to go to the library. A quiet environment makes studying much easier. Also, try to stay away from your computer when studying. Facebook is probably the #1 distraction for most people. Always try to stay ahead in your classes, or at least caught up, because catching up is hard to do. Find a time and place that works well for your study habits and stick to it, ask for help when you need it, and all your classes should go pretty smooth.
Over the past few months of being a college student, it has not taken long to learn important work habits to do well in classes. Although, I will without a doubt admit that I’m not necessarily the key example of all of these, I at least try to somewhat follow them.
So, advice and study tips I give to incoming freshman are as follow:
1. Don’t procrastinate. It’s pretty basic and most definitely easier said than done. In fact, this is probably the one that I personally struggle with the most. Nevertheless, it is definitely true that the sooner you get things done, usually the better quality it is. You have more time to get it checked over, ask any questions about it, make changes and what not. Besides, getting it done ahead of time relieves stress as well which is always a good thing!
2. Form study groups. It is very difficult for many, including myself, to sit down and make yourself study. It is even more difficult to do so if you don’t understand what you’re doing. Thus, study groups are key! Several nights of the week, my friends and I will all get together and simply sit and work on homework. By being together, we all make each other do work while also being available to help one another.
3. Ask questions & ask for help. One of the major benefits of going to a smaller school is the willingness of professors to help you and make sure you understand everything. So… take advantage of this! If you ever don’t know exactly what the assignment is, don’t understand a lecture, or just in general need help, be sure to ask. It will help not only your knowledge but your grade as well. Professors are always willing to assist you, but they won’t know to do so unless you ASK!
4. Sleep. College life is busy… school work, jobs, sports, going out with friends… the fun never stops. But amidst this active life, give yourself a little rest! Whether it be a full night of sleep or just naps here and there, make sure you give your brain a break. You’ll wake up feeling ten times better and in the end will get more done!
This is the best advice I can do for anyone now…