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. But I’m back and very pumped for 2018!
On Monday, I returned to classes for the second semester of my sophomore year. And it’s been quite the week of stress and changes. Honestly, school is not my favorite thing, but I’ve found some habits since starting college that has proved to be helpful and make life a little easier.
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 this blog post can go 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, but hopefully, this can help someone of you out.
Here are my 5 helpful habits for succeeding in college:
Write. It. Down.
I was lucky enough to get into that habit of utilizing a planner since I was 12. In the middle school and high school, we were given a new school planner 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. That was enough to scare me into having that thing with me all the time for three years. 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.
Planners are 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. And 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!!
I find it most helpful and leads to a less stressful week if you sit down and plan your week on Sunday. Look through your course schedule and write down the homework you have to do, what’s due when, any tests/presentations, your work shifts, and anything else that’s going on that week. You can color code things and use sticky notes in your planner, too!
You’re more likely to remember things if you handwrite it!
I was the worst at this last year. I know my body can run on as little as three hours of sleep without caffeine. So, I was able to be out a lot with friends later and get a lot of things done late at night. But it also had its negatives, I was getting sick frequently, my anxiety would be 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. Something different had to be done this semester because I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing.
To combat my problem, 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 then 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.
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 of black ink 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.
Podcasts or Music in the Background
I can’t do homework or study with nothing in the background but the sound of my own breathing and the occasional house creaks. I also can’t listen to music that I know because then I’ll be distracted and only want to sing along 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.
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 a few days. 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, 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 a snack, a YouTube video, or whatever it is that 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.
Tune into yourself and 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.
What helpful habits do you have?