5 Helpful Habits for College

I’m so excited to be putting up another blog post today! It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve done anything on here. The entire last week I took off as a reset was nice, but also all I wanted to do was keep creating content. But I’m back and very pumped for 2018!

On Monday of this week, I returned to classes for the second semester of my sophomore year. And it’s been quite the week of a little bit of stress and a lot of changes. Honestly, school is not my favorite thing, but I’ve found some habits since starting college that has only proved to be helpful and make life a little easier that I wanted to share with you guys.

By no means do I stick to all these things all of the time, in fact, I’m staying up way later than I should, so I can make sure this blog post goes up in time in the morning since I’ve had more homework than I anticipated this week. I’m human too, and I can get lazy, unmotivated, and procrastinate incredibly well, however, I try my best and this is what I find works best for me. All of these things won’t work for everyone and how they operate and I know that, but hopefully this can help someone of you out.

Without further delay, here are my 5 helpful habits for succeeding in college:

1.     Write. It. Down.

·       I’m about to unleash my inner Monica Geller here for a minute so please bear with me.

·       Luckily in the middle school and high school that I went to we were given a new school year planer each year. In middle school, if you didn’t have your planner in all your classes you would get warnings that would lead to detentions or something along those lines, and that was enough to scare me into having that thing with me all the time for three years because I’m terrified of getting in trouble and yelled at. But in high school, they loosened their grip on that rule but encouraged you to use. So, I was lucky enough to get into that habit of having a planner and using it since I was about 12.

·       This little book is my best friend, and it should be your best friend, too, if you want to remember when things are due and where you have to be at 8 million times a day.

·       Let me tell you right now if you think you’re going to remember what your professor just said, you’re wrong. Write it down. Write it down. Write it down.

·       I find it most helpful and leads to a less stressful week if you sit down at some point on Sundays and plan out your week. Look through your course schedule and write down the homework you have to do, what’s due when, any tests/presentations, when/if you work, and anything else that’s going on that week. (And, I mean, you can color code things and use sticky notes in your planner, too, but that’s just me being Monica.)

·       Also, you’re more likely to remember things if you handwrite it!

2.     Get Sleep!

·       I was the worst at this last year because I knew my body can run on as little as three hours of sleep and be just fine even without caffeine, so I was able to be out a lot with friends late and get a lot of things done late at night. But it also had its negatives, I was getting sick frequently, my anxiety would get worse, and I would take naps more and mess up my sleep some more. Basically, it was a disaster and should be avoided at all costs. I knew I had to do something different this semester because I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing.

·       I started doing a phone challenge this week where I put my phone, plugged in, across the room. I did this for two reasons: 1. When I woke up in the morning I would have to get out of bed to turn my alarm off and 2. I’m not on my phone before I go to sleep and right when I get up. After a week of this, I found that I wake up in a better mood because I’m going to bed earlier and not being distracted by anything. As well as, that throughout the day I’m using my phone less which is actually one of my New Year’s goals! I started challenging myself halfway through the week that after I turn my alarm off that I have to finish a bottle of water before I can look at my phone. So far so good, 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

·       Balancing caffeine and water!! Always make sure you’re taking in more water than caffeine, trust me your body will work way better.

·       From going to bed so early lately, I’m finding that I actually enjoy mornings and that’s when I’m most productive – who would have thought!

3.     Write in Different Colors

·       Yes, this is being a bit extra, I know, but trust me it works!

·       It gives your notes some life so you’re not staring at pages on pages black ink or type for hours when studying. Your brain likes colors, use them!
It can also help you focus on specific sections if you dedicate certain colors for headings, diagrams, the bulk of your notes, and things like that.

·       But, this might not be your thing and I get that. I’m just one of those people that like taking notes and having them look “pretty”.

4.     Podcasts or Music in the Background

·       I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t do homework or study with nothing in the background but the sound of my own breathing and the occasional house creaks. But I also can’t listen to music that I know because then I’ll be distracted and only want to jam than actually do my work. So, through trial-and-error, I have found that podcasts and music that I don’t know work the best for me. There’s some background noise, but nothing too distracting.

5.     Finally, Learn to Rest and Not to Quit

·       When I started college, I was absolutely overwhelmed with the number of readings I had to get done in just a few days and I didn’t think I’d be able to get them all done in time. So, rationally, I didn’t do any of them for certain classes. Which, surprisingly and luckily, didn’t backfire on me, but I knew that was going to work the whole time. Despite being prepared for college in high school because of some classes I took and certain teachers I had, it was still a big adjustment. My biggest habit I would say, for anyone, is to work in intervals. Your mind likes chunks. So, if you set a timer to work for about 45 minutes, work straight through that and focus on nothing else. Once that time is up, allow yourself a break and reward yourself with something like a snack, a YouTube video, scrolling through Instagram, just something you enjoy, then get back to work. This way you break up the stress and work in manageable time while also taking care of yourself (which is my #1 tip in general and in life, to take care of yourself first because you’re important, and you can’t pour from an empty cup).

·       Know when you need a break, don’t give up. You got this.

Those are my 5 helpful habits to have in college, I hope some of them helped you out.

Let me know in the comments what helpful habits that you have found that work for you!


12 Replies to “5 Helpful Habits for College”

  1. Fantastic advice!!!

    1. Kellie Monahan says: Reply

      Thank you so much!!

  2. I love this! Every time I read your blog posts I relate so much to them. I can’t get anything done without my handy dandy planner and a "to-do" list. It just feels like I’m not actually accomplishing anything if I don’t write it down haha. I think your tips for getting more sleep, writing in different colors, and learning to rest and not quit are also fantastic tips! I wish I could listen to music in the background when I study or work but I get overstimulated too easily 😕 Maybe listening to songs that I don’t know the words to would help though, because it would be less distracting for sure. Thanks for these awesome tips!

    1. Kellie Monahan says: Reply

      I totally get the feeling overstimulated part! And thank you so much for reading, it means a lot to me! 🙂

  3. Great advice Kellie. I completely agree with the planner, we used to be given a new one in school each year too and it makes life so much easier. And sleep is so important to function, it’s often something we take for granted!

    1. Kellie Monahan says: Reply

      Thank you so much! We definitely take sleep for granted, it’s crazy!

  4. Courtney A. Casto says: Reply

    Hi Kellie! I just started following your blog so I’m not sure what all you usually write about yet but I’d love to hear about your life! It took me awhile to discover the beauty of white noise but now that I have I can’t go back! I almost always either have a fan or a white noise machine running when I’m reading or sleeping. It’s magical!

    1. Kellie Monahan says: Reply

      Hi Courtney! Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it!! And same, I always have my fan running in my bedroom even in freezing weather just because I like the noise!

  5. This is great advice and I wish I’d followed them when I was in college – especially the phone challenge one! Good luck with this semester 😉

    1. Kellie Monahan says: Reply

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate that!! 🙂

  6. This is such a great list! I’ve actually started using different colours for different modules when taking notes in lectures and it makes your work look so much more fun (and more appealing to read). I might try the podcast/music you don’t know thing because, like you, I don’t like working in silence. I usually listen to music but it is often distracting so I feel like this would be a great compromise!

    1. Kellie Monahan says: Reply

      The different colors make a huge difference and I wish I did that in high school! It’s such a great compromise, I used to get so frustrated in silence but the music I knew was too distracting! Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it!! 🙂

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