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3 Tried and True Pieces of College Wisdom

Going to college can be an exciting time. Students just graduating from high school, especially, have a newfound sense of freedom and exploration. However, as the quotation goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Some of these freedoms may distract you from the reason you went to college at all — to get an education! Here are a few pieces of advice that will help students at any level stay focused.

  1. Do all of the reading. This cannot be emphasized enough. To get the most out of your classes, you need to come to every session prepared for the lectures and discussions. Discussion is an important part of learning. It gives you the opportunity to engage with the material, your classmates, and your instructor. It also allows you to ask questions about the text, which benefits everyone (often, others will have the same questions). By not doing the reading for class, you are essentially barring yourself from participating in this process. Also, professors will typically start creating pop-quizzes if they catch on that students aren’t doing the reading assignments. 
  2. Stay on top of class work. It can be so easy to let an assignment slide when there are a couple days before the next class. However, it’s a good habit to get into to do your homework as soon as you can — within the hour, if that’s possible. That way the lecture and discussion material is fresh in your mind so you still have a lot of ideas to draw from. You also never know what will come up later. A two-paragraph reflection may seem easy enough, but when you have a four-page essay on top of that from another class, your workload suddenly seems exponentially more daunting. By the same turn, getting all the little projects out of the way before something larger is dropped on your plate is an immense relief.
  3. Get enough sleep. One of the simplest and most elusive practices within college life. In the most basic terms, you need sleep to function. Countless studies have been conducted confirming that you need about 8 hours of sleep per day to be at your highest functioning level. This includes being alert while attending class, taking notes, critically analyzing assigned readings, and thoughtfully completing assignments. As soon as you start sacrificing sleep, you’re doing yourself a disservice in these areas. Sometimes when you’re balancing multiple obligations, it’s hard to fit everything into a day. Try to make sure, though, that you make time to take care of yourself.