If you made it through high school by winging it, now’s the time to buckle down. Doing well in college, regardless of your field, requires a serious commitment to studying right from the start.
It’s essential that you learn how to manage your time wisely and allocate enough time for classes, homework (around 20 hours per week in addition to class time) and extra-curricular activities.
- Budget your time – There are 168 hours in a week, enough to do lots of different things if you plan your time properly. Use a daily planner and make short-, medium- and long-term schedules. Prioritize the things you need to do and list them from the most to the least important. It’s important not to get behind, especially in your coursework. You can find more tips under Get organized.
- Incorporate studying into your daily routine – We’re all creatures of habit. If you look closely at how you spend your days, you’ll see that you tend to do the same things at the same time. What you need to do now is add studying to that daily routine. That’ll make it easier to get to work.
- Figure out when you’re most productive – Some of us are early birds, others get a second wind in the evening. Whatever your natural rhythm, work with it but don’t stay up too late – getting enough sleep is vital.
- Clear your mind before getting down to work – Finish anything else you have going on before sitting down to study. Otherwise your thoughts will stray to what’s been left unfinished and you won’t be able to concentrate.
- Put away your smartphone, and don’t check email or social media – We suggest deactivating all notifications so the frequent interruptions don’t break your chain of thought. Find a calm, quiet place to study and set yourself SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals.
- Take a break every once in a while – If you find your mind wandering, get up and stretch, take a short walk and drink a glass of water. The simple fact of changing your position can help you refocus.
- Be sure to get enough sleep, eat right and make time for things you enjoy – Exercise is great for reenergizing and staying in shape. Try to avoid staring too long at a screen when you’re not studying – you already spend enough time in front of the computer for your coursework.
- Be prepared – Before you go to bed, make a quick list of what you need to do the next day. That’ll help clear your thoughts and prepare you for a good night’s sleep, with the assurance that you haven’t forgotten about anything. Another tip: lay out what plan to wear the next day, to save time in the morning.