College can be very different than high school. No one fully prepared me for college and having gone to a small high school with 106 in my graduating class – it was bound to be different. The funny thing is I made it through my first two years of college feeling like I belonged and then my 3rd year it was culture shock. My first two years were awesome – I went to a state college, lived on campus and my classes were a decent size. To me it actually felt alot like high school just different hours and classes across campus and town. Since I took college prep courses in high school my first two years actually felt alot like review of what I already knew.
Year three was different. I switched schools to a school closer to home and much larger. Still not huge but larger just the same. They had classes in an auditorium – lecture halls. I had no idea how to handle a class that didn’t take attendance, had no idea if I was there or not, no ability to ask a question and just no real identity. As an introvert I never really ask many questions anyway but with that ability taken away I felt lost. It was then that I really had to focus on study skills.
I spent a fair portion of that year filled with anxiety and my straight A’s all of a sudden weren’t. I wasn’t failing or anything but not A’s – things just weren’t coming as easily to me. My first priority was to deal with the anxiety then move forward.
My parents have never had to help me and I really didn’t want to ask them for help now – you know, the whole pride thing. They also didn’t pay for my college so the only one I had to prove myself to was me.
The first thing to do is get organized – hyper organized. I had nightmares that I was always heading to the wrong class with the wrong notepads and textbooks (yes we had textbooks back then) – always one step behind. But if you know all timetables and schedules with due dates, goals, milestones and more, then that is the first step to success. Eliminate all unnecessary sources of confusion.
Every course had it’s own notepad – today I use a laptop and keep every class in a different folder on my Google Drive. The concept is the same and it is still a method I use in my career and blogging life. Without organization it all falls apart.
While you are in high school apply for as many scholarships as you can. Believe me, college is alot less stressful if you don’t have to constantly struggle with how you are going to pay for it! David Ebrahimzadeh has a scholarship program that can help.
Short Term Goals
Establish what your short term goal is – it could be reading a chapter tonight and tomorrow night taking notes on that chapter. If there are sample quizzes – take them. My first two years in college I ignored those sample quizzes – who wants to take a quiz if you don’t need to. But yes, they are an excellent tool to reach success.
If you can find a friend to partner with it is a great way to quiz one another and study together. They may have grasped some concepts more quickly than you and vice versa. Share the knowledge and expertise then both of you achieve success.
If anyone offers additional practice – accept it. Especially if the instructor is able to offer any type of bonus work – the more you can repeat concepts through this work, the likelier you are to remember it all.
Most importantly – focus on sleep and get plenty of it especially when it is the day before a test. Lack of sleep, even for the sake of additional study time is not helpful. I find Audible downloads to be a huge help. In my college days I would recline the seat in my car (when I wasn’t living on campus) and listen to a relaxation recording before my classes.
How confident do you feel in anything when you are hungry. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and preferably avoid sugary ones that will give you that quick boost but then leave you crashing. You want a slow and steady boost.