As a student, many lessons were deeply instilled in me that have carried far beyond the classroom. I have come up with five tips to help you succeed inside the classroom and in the outside world.
1. Get Organized
This is crucial. Number one has to be the first step for a reason. Without organization and planning, it is very difficult to stay on track and accomplish your goals. Begin at home. Keep a clean room, clean desk, and start a planner of any sort. Even if your planner is just a cheap dollar store calendar hanging on the wall, it will allow you to keep track of important dates and let you know where you stand along the way. Extend this to "your area" at school, work or wherever you may go. By keeping things in order you are making sure nothing menial is standing in your way.
2. Create Checkpoints
Think of this as picking off a huge iceberg piece by piece. It can be intimidating seeing the big picture, but by taking it one step at a time, it cuts down your work and stress. I have one day of the week where I recuperate. That day for me is Sunday. I use this day to reflect on my past week and prepare for the week ahead. This is weekly checkpoint to make sure I am where I want to be. It allows me to learn from my mistakes, catch up where I may have fallen behind, and ultimately stay on track. Checkpoints also include smaller goals that ultimately help you accomplish a much larger goal. This can be something as simple as setting aside thirty minutes a day to a subject you may be struggling in, so that when a test comes up you don't have to cram. Under no circumstance should you ever cram to get something finished. When you are doing this, you are showing your sloppiest work. You're trying to get something done in the littlest amount of time possible, and quite honestly no matter how small a task may seem... doesn't that logically make it all the more difficult? As far as a student is concerned, cramming for tests specifically is about the worst thing you can do. Take it from a Bio major. When you cram, you're trying to shove topics that build upon other topics into a one night study session in the hopes of passing a test with specific descriptive questions-- in other words, it's not going to happen. Study a little every night and try to read ahead if possible so you can keep up to date with the content. By doing this, the night before the test is a review session. There are all kinds of resources available to you so you can test yourself. Get a good night's sleep and walk in confident.
3. Ask Questions
Never ever be afraid to ask questions! We as humans learn best from our mistakes. No question is a dumb question certainly holds some truth, however most people ask questions that were answered immediately before. When asking a question try wording it in a way that will get you a new answer. If you don't understand what was just said, ask if there's a way they can reword it for you in a different way. If you can't figure it out, or if you missed something, chances are someone else did too! Speak up and don't be afraid to ask questions. That's the best part of teaching for me; answering questions. I won't pretend to know everything, but I'll always do my best to answer your question or find one for you. You can learn so much with just a little clarity. It helps me out so much when I questions to because I know where to provide more information or find new ways of explaining things to avoid any future confusion.
4. Get A Study Buddy
Professors, teachers, and tutors are great (no bias here whatsoever). They're there to provide support for the things you may not understand and relay information so get it to stick. But this isn't their first ballgame. Find someone who is on the same level as you, in the same class so you can go over the information together. This lends to swapping ideas, reinforcing topics you've learned, and creates great studying ideas that really stick in the long run. For instance, in my first college anatomy class, my lab partner and I made friends and began studying together. We were able to push each other without pressure, and make up weird little study "games" that made the material stick. I still to this day know each crevice of each bone of the body from our study sessions and could probably recite off songs we'd made to remember them!
5. Take Care of Yourself
The most important tip I can give you is to take care of yourself. I know this sounds ridiculous, but without this, nothing else matters. As a student, especially when you start getting into harder subjects, it gets hard to do anything but stress over that dreaded essay or test. Eating three square meals a day and getting eight hours of sleep each night becomes something we don't even think about-- until we burn out. Your body isn't built for constant stress. Give it a rest. Take care of your mind too. Stress isn't good for you. Go do things you enjoy, find your center, and try to keep all other tips in mind to help you maintain a low stress level. You will thank yourself in the long run for that extra hour of sleep or that big breakfast you ate before the test. If you don't believe me, try it for a week and get back to me. You'll notice a change.
Now take this and go! And don't stop! Keep your head up. Each and every one of us is dealing with something different. Bad days happen to everyone, but take them as a learning experience and grow from them. I believe in you and you should too!