When heading off to college as a freshman it can feel like you’re embarking on the journey of a lifetime that will never end. But, all good things do and before you know it, you’ll be snowed under with work as you get set for that all-important final year.
Postgrads will regale you with tales of 16-hour sessions in the library and a diet of instant noodles and energy drinks, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take a look at these 8 tips to get you through your senior year of college and you’ll be well on your way to the top grade your hard work deserves.
1. Plan Early
There’s no such thing as planning your final year studies too early. Once you’ve decided on your undergrad major, it’s important that you research all the required courses. By your junior year, make sure you’re still on track to graduate on time by reviewing the courses you’ve already taken and looking ahead to those that remain for your senior year.
Take the time to plan and research and you won’t feel overwhelmed your senior year.
2. Create a Routine
Some people get up late and work late, others bound out of bed first thing in the morning, but hate to work past 5 pm. It doesn’t matter which option you choose, but bare two things in mind:
- Make sure that your routine is actually workable. If you’re constantly changing it, you’ll never get into a rhythm and your body will always be second-guessing what you’re going to do. This will make you feel tired during the day making it hard to focus in class and could also lead to college insomnia. By sticking to a routine for just 7 days you’ll find that your sleeping and eating pattern synchronizes with your study routine so that you can really start to build up steam.
- Know your exam times. Final year examinations are no joke with many of them accounting for 100% of your final grade for a given class. This means that if you work best in the middle of the night, but are half asleep during your 11 AM exam, you’ll need to change things up. Adjust your schedule so that you’ll be properly prepared for any upcoming exams.
3. Use the Library
Your school library is a priceless resource that a lot of students fail to take full advantage of. Not only will you find all of your course texts in there, but you’ll also find thousands of alternative books that may help clarify that tricky concept you’ve been struggling with all term. Reading widely is the best way forward because it exposes you to a whole host of new ideas and ways of thinking.
In addition to books, the library also offers great study spaces, whether you’re working on your own or with a group. There are also viewing rooms as well as computers, printers, and copiers galore. And don’t forget, when it doubt, you can always ask your librarian for help.
4. Make Time to Socialize and Unwind
Taking the time to unwind is really important if you want to keep your stress levels under control. If you’re all work and no play, you’re likely to burn out and have trouble finding motivation as the academic year progresses.
Make sure you have at least one evening a week where you leave the books at home and go and see some friends. That way you won’t grow to resent your studies because you see them as the thing that’s preventing you from enjoying the whole university experience.
5. Stay Healthy, Stay Rested
Eating well on a budget can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re living off campus for the first time. Getting to know your body is one of the most important things you can do now that you’re an independent adult.
If you feel a sore throat or a headache coming on, this is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Take a break or, if you’re feeling really bad, stop by health services. There are no medals for pushing on when you’re clearly unwell. Take the time off you need to feel back to your best. If you don’t, you’ll not only feel worse, but the quality of your study will drop too.
6. Find Someone You Can Talk To
College can be a stressful business because. It’s all to easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your entire future rests on what grade. Whilst you want to push yourself to do your best, it’s important to find a way to keep things in perspective.
Finding someone you can talk to for just a few minutes a week is a great way to reduce your stress and stay grounded. Tell someone how you feel and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel afterwards.
8. Compete Against Yourself, No One Else
There will always be someone bigger, stronger, or smarter than you. That’s just a fact of life that you have to get used to. For this reason alone, there is little benefit in competing against your peers and classmates because you’re just putting undue pressure on yourself. You may feel pride if you come top of your class, but that’s not really the point of an education. Compete against yourself to be better every single day and the rest will take care of itself.
9. Budget Your Money as Well as Your Time
If you worry about earning money, then make sure you come up with a realistic weekly budget. Don’t be too strict because you still need to have fun, so make sure that your budget for the odd takeaway or night out with your friends.
“I found that during my final year of study the students who had saved their money and used it wisely were the ones who performed better in the exam hall. I think it’s because they had fewer distractions and were able to give their studies their all rather than having to juggle a couple of part-time jobs on the side” — says Toby Simpson, Graduate and Content Contributor at Top Writers Review.
If you stay on top of the numbers, you’ll be amazed at how much more time and energy you have to devote to your studies. College is one of the rare chances in life you will get to focus on something you have a real passion for with no other distractions. So make sure you keep your money worries at bay by sticking to your budget.
About Daniela McVicker
Daniela is a graduate and editor for Rated By Students. She enjoys using the written word to help educate and enlighten students around the world so that they can discover more effective ways to enjoy life whilst excelling at their studies.