5 Ways to Kill It Academically Your Freshman Year

It’s about that time in the semester where us freshmen have settled in, can somewhat navigate our way around campus and have finally come to terms with our workload. However, for some of us, becoming too comfortable in our situation can also lead to a lack of academic motivation. We start to fall behind as we become slightly cocky about having college “figured out.” We start to take maybe one too many naps or give ourselves days off only to have to pull an all nighter the next day to get everything done in time. But, I’m here to give you five methods that have worked for me to keep from falling behind!

  1. 1. Get involved in non-educational activities.

    Unless you truly can’t get enough of school, most of us reach a breaking point where we just cannot fit anything else into our brains. You may find yourself stuck in an eat-school-sleep-repeat rut, and in my experience, this can lead to burnout. To break up this routine I have found that participating in clubs that take your mind off school is extremely beneficial. Find a few activities that you love and use them as an outlet for de-stressing, creativity or whatever is missing from your college life! While getting involved in more activities seems counteractive to the goal of succeeding in school, participating in other activities will force you to improve your time-management skills.

  2. 2. Don’t do your homework in bed.

    I know that trap all too well. You think to yourself, “If I’m going to do homework, why not at least be comfortable while doing it?” You get into bed, you get out your materials and next thing you know it’s four hours later and you are drowning in drool-stained papers and homework that you never did. There are so many places to be productive — in bed is not one of them. Go to a library (my favorite is College Library), the union or just study at your desk if you want to be in your room. Not only is homework in bed unproductive, but it also can be detrimental to a good night’s rest. If you start associating your bed with homework, it can produce feelings of stress and anxiety that are not conducive to sleeping!

  3. 3. Keep a planner (and stick to it).

    If you find yourself doing all of your work at the last minute, help yourself by writing down what you need to do and on what days in order to avoid this. There is something rewarding about checking tasks off of a list, and with a planner, you have a physical representation of your weekly accomplishments. You can schedule out your week and be more proactive and prepared.

  4. 4. Take homework breaks.

    Sitting for hours and hours working on an assignment is not beneficial to your brain or your body. Getting up to walk around, have a snack and drink some water will help you feel refreshed enough to keep concentrating. Try to do this every hour!

  5. 5. Exercise.

    I can’t stress enough how much exercise has helped me mentally this semester. Being able to take just an hour to focus on myself a few times a week has made both my mind and my body stronger. Allowing myself this mental break in the gym gives me the strength to focus on my schoolwork and helps me structure my day. Having the feeling of accomplishment from the endorphins can go such a long way. This does not mean you have to be sweating profusely or even go to a gym — it could be a 15 minute walk, a bike ride or an ab workout in the dorm. Anything that helps you feel accomplished and refreshed.

Although I’m only two months into my first semester of college, I have found that establishing these productive habits early on has helped and will help me in the long run. These methods are completely doable, maintainable, and have benefited me immensely thus far. I know you can do this! Keep being great.