College students across the country will soon be returning to school in some capacity. Covid-19 is on everyone’s mind as students, faculty, and staff prepare for the start of the academic year.
I thought it would be useful to offer some helpful how-to guides and suggestions to help students manage their coursework and succeed, especially since many of them will be completing the upcoming semester remotely.
7 Things You Should Do to Succeed in College
Today, I am focusing on 7 things anyone can do to help them succeed in college. The tips and suggestions on this list are ones I’ve found useful in my own life. I’ve tailored the suggestions to focus on those most relevant and useful when confronted with remote learning.
Most of these tips and suggestions have to do with time management. Importantly, several deal with making time for yourself. Whether you are returning to college or just starting this fall, time management is crucial if you want to succeed and get the most out of your semester and education.
(1) Make a Schedule. You will get a syllabus for each of your courses that provides you with information like class times, scheduled Zoom meetings, assignments, and assignment deadlines. Create a Master Schedule using this information. If you do this at the outset, you will not be surprised by anything during the semester and you will be able to plan around your courses and assignment deadlines. For instance, if you need to select a date to present in one of your courses, you can use your mastercalendar to schedule your presentation at a time when you know you won’t have a lot of other assignments due. A master calendar will also make it easier to schedule time for yourself throughout the semester.
(2) Think Small. For many students, college can get overwhelming, especially when you have a lot of big projects or lengthy assignments due around the same time. To get through the most difficult assignments and work, you need to schedule your time and break each project/assignment down into manageable, doable tasks. Every project—whether you are writing a final paper, preparing for a big presentation, writing a script, or creating a video game—can be reduced to small tasks that together equal success. For instance, rather than trying to write a fifteen page research paper three nights before it’s due, you will be more likely to succeed if you break it down into 1-page increments and write it over the course of two or three weeks. When you have large projects or assignments due, plan and think small. Doing this will help reduce stress, it will help you stay on top of your workload, and it will make the semester manageable. (See my related article, How to Stop Lying to Yourself – Creating Clear Goals, here.)
(3)Ask for Help. If you find yourself struggling in your courses, if you are worried you won’t make a deadline, or if a life-event prevents you from completing your work, always reach out to your professors as soon as possible. Ask for help when you need it—It’s something simple, but I have seen students fail time and time again simply because they refused to ask for help or waited too long before doing so. Do not wait till the last minute or until the deadline has passed. Ask for help when you need it. In addition to faculty, colleges have numerous services to assist students who are struggling. Most every college will have, for example, a writing center, tutoring services, and librarians who will assist you when you are researching a topic. Indeed, your tuition and other fees cover these services—Take advantage of them if you need them. If you do this, you will reduce stress, anxiety, and fear. Not only that, but you will also succeed and get the most out of your college education.
(4) Schedule Time for Yourself. You will undoubtedly be busy throughout the semester. To reduce stress, anxiety, and to maintain health it is important to schedule time for yourself to unwind. If you know your schedule, it is easy to schedule time for yourself around your other obligations. It is important to take time away from your studies. Doing this will help you focus, reduce burnout, and will help you be prepared to work hard when you need to. I recommend scheduling at least two hours to yourself twice a week. (See my related article, Are Hobbies Important?, here.)
(5)Time Away from Screens. Most college students will be completing at least some of their semester remotely. Online learning has many advantages. One downside, however, is that you will likely be on your computer and phone more than you would otherwise be if you had in-person instruction. Given this, it is more important this semester to make sure you schedule time away from screens. Make time in your schedule to take a walk, talk to friends or family, or just spend time outside. (For more information, see my article, Are You Distracted? – How to Limit Smartphone Use, here.)
(6) Take a Break After Big Projects. While this tip is not always possible—especially during mid-terms and final exams—I think it is nevertheless important. You will undoubtedly have big projects due throughout the semester. When we complete a big project, we often make the mistake of simply moving on to the next task. Try instead to allow yourself some time to recoup after a work-intensive project. Paying attention to yourself, being aware of the effort you’re putting in, will help you reduce stress, anxiety, and burnout. (For More, see my article, Existential Crisis – 4 things you can do when in crisis.)
(7) Practice Healthy Habits. When I am stressed or overworked, I tend to forget or outright skip important things necessary for my physical and mental health. I must stop myself and make sure I eat regularly and exercise. Practice healthy habits throughout the semester to improve/maintain your physical and mental health. Make sure you eat regular meals and make time to exercise on a regular basis. Doing this will make you more likely to succeed and will help reduce stress and anxiety.
In college, like all things in life, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. Do these 7 things to succeed and get the most out of college.
Thanks for reading! Please subscribe, like, and share.