Five Easy Steps to Succeed at College

Alright, guys, let’s not kid ourselves, we worked hard to get here and college is impossibly expensive. If you want to get the most out of your college experience there are five things we can do to succeed in school and in life. Some of these might seem obvious but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important steps into maintaining your life away from home.

1. Make Good Friends

This is crucial for both the commuter and the resident, though I can only speak from personal experience on the latter. As a commuter, having friends and being around others on campus will keep you engaged in the campus life. Having a strong campus culture, particularly if it's thriving will help you stay engaged in your classes.

For residents community here is imperative. It’s normal to be homesick but homesickness can easily become distraction and a depressant. Your friends will give you a social unit you can stick with, one you can be part of and enjoy being around while far from home. Even for the less socially inclined a network of people you know well, teachers included, will help you ground yourself in your current environment and enjoy your time away.

That all being said, let’s discuss the “good” section of the title. This is a subjective thing, but what you should keep in mind when finding friends is that the people you are around will influence you. When you find a group you want to fit in with, go ahead, just be sure to understand your own limits and opinions. Finding people with similar interests will be easier through clubs or other school activities.

2. Go To Class!!

I cannot stress this enough and it's perhaps the easiest thing to do on this list. Most schools have an add/drop period so you can find a schedule that works for you in classes that interest you. There are general education courses that pretty much no one want to do, but getting them done in the beginning of your school career will help improve the quality of your years past them. A lot of schools also have an attendance system where you will automatically fail if you don’t show up for classes. Of course there are extenuating circumstances for some people, and communicating them with your professor and using the student resources on campus will help out immensely.

Don’t forget to work out a note taking system that works the best for you.

3. Work Ahead However and Whenever You Can

Yes I know Netflix has your favorite show, but trust me it’ll be there when you’re done. Blocking out time in your day to do school work, even and especially on the weekends will make your life so much easier. By working ahead on a project, even if you’re only putting in about thirty minutes of hard work a day, will allow you a much lower stress environment and you’ll be able to enjoy your free time more. Most classes don’t run daily so if you work out what you need to do for your next class and work on the assignments the day you get them, there will less for you to panic through the next day. I know procrastination seems easier and we are all guilty of it in one form or another, but it really isn’t. You’ll probably wind up squandering time then wishing you had more when the crunch comes around. This working ahead can also mean just reading over notes or listening to an audiobook for one of your classes while doing something else fairly simple.

Picking one location for serious work will also help you going on through school. I personally use the campus library. Even with the same devices that distract me in my room, I’m able to focus because of the dedicated space. Find that place where you can study effectively and use your time wisely.

4. Balance Your Schedule to Your Needs

Speaking of using time wisely, let’s not forget that we aren’t machines here. People need breaks in their day just as much as they need dedicated time to work or be with friends. Build a routine for yourself with the classes you have but be sure to have flexibility too. Habits are easy enough to form and taking the effort to developing good ones are important but so is blocking out energy to spend on yourself. Pick a time to go to the gym or read your favorite book, make sure you have a consistent lunch break and maybe even chunks of down time between classes to work or relax as needed. You know yourself and you know what’s best, be it a quick stress buster or a long calm evening off, just be sure everything is going to be running smoothly with school and put your limited time to good use.

5. Enjoy Your Life

This is the final step in succeeding at college, having a good time. It’s that simple, enjoy life. School isn’t about your classes, it isn’t about your degree, it’s about living the life you want. Think about it, you’ve been in school for so many years and everyone keeps telling you, think about your future, think about your future, but what’s the point in your future if you don’t enjoy today as well? This guide doesn't show you how to coast, but rather how to keep up the momentum you put in. You won’t be coasting, but you won’t be dying of stress either. College is about connections, about your now and your future.