Knowing how to succeed in college isn’t as easy as you may think. College is a whole different ballgame than high school — and the rules certainly change!
When I first started college, the transition wasn’t exactly a smooth one. I was overwhelmed with the different class structures, the amount of freedom I was suddenly granted and of course, the course loads.
But eventually I got the hang of it! Learning how to succeed in college doesn’t just mean studying hard for exams and making it to class on time. Here are 6 secrets I learned along the way:
1. Listen to Books
Depending on your class load and college major, you may have bitten off more than you’re used to in terms of reading. There were periods in college during which I was assigned to read two to three books a week, and I was struggling to keep up. What saved me were (believe it or not) books on tape.
Rather than setting aside the time to read each book, I would simply put on my headphones and listen to the book on tape while doing something else. While this may not be available for college textbooks, it works great for novels. Exercising, cooking and sitting in a park were now accompanied by someone’s voice reading to me. It saved me a lot of time!
2. Eat Your Vegetables
Speaking of exercising, staying healthy is not always something people think of when they wonder how to succeed in college. But it’s certainly important! As I’m sure you know, there are countless studies that point to physical well-being being linked to mental well-being. If you keep your body healthy (and keep off those freshman 15!), you’ll be better able to take on the daily tasks of college life.
3. Make the Dean’s List
I found that a good way to start off each semester is by setting a goal for yourself. Have you always wanted to make the dean’s list? Do you want to raise your GPA by a few points? Make it happen!
And the goals don’t have to be about grades. Finally take on that tough language course you’ve been putting off, or commit to a club that you’ve been thinking about joining. How to succeed on campus depends a great deal on the individual — make your goals work for you.
4. Rewrite Your Notes
When studying for your final, it’s the usual habit of students to simply reread their notes enough times to feel like they’ve retained as much as they possibly could. Learning how to succeed in college exams means taking it a step further — rewrite your notes, by hand! For some reason, the physical act of writing out the information helps you retain and organize it in your mind. And if you happen to be a good note taker, trust me, it works!
5. Keep a Budget
Listen, I’m not saying that you should take note of every single penny that you spend, but write down the basics! You’ll be surprised how much money you’re spending and how the little things add up. When you keep track of what you’re spending money on, you’ll realize that there are many things you could probably cut out, and you’ll save yourself a nice wad of cash in the long run!
6. Play Hard
Knowing how to succeed in college doesn’t just mean knowing how to get good grades. On the other hand, “playing hard” doesn’t just mean going to keg parties. You have to know how to keep yourself fulfilled both emotionally and creatively. Make sure that you have a healthy outlet for whatever creative juices are flowing inside of you — paint, keep a journal, join a fencing class — whatever! Just make sure it keeps you happy and gives you something outside of the box to look forward to.
Along the way, you’ll pick up a handful of tricks of your own and ultimately find what works best for you. Learning how to succeed in college is a journey — make sure you enjoy the ride!