It’s back to school for everyone now, especially college students! While some have adjusted to life as a college kid, others are just transitioning from high school. What better way to start the new school year then than to have some handy dandy practical knowledge to make life kinda easy? Here are at least 25 things that can help college freshmen.
1. Get some exercise.
It’s so easy to develop bad eating habits when you’re worried about meeting project deadlines, cramming for tests, and just getting through your classes. You don’t need a gym membership or an instructor to exercise. Walk around campus or use the stairs when it’s just 3 or 5 flights to where you want to be.
2. Get to know Quizlet.
Students who have discovered this learning tool swear by it. You can access Quizlet on your mobile and on the web so it is very convenient to use.
3. Copy & paste questions from your assignment or worksheet on Google.
With all that teachers need to do, they sometimes use the same questions from previous years. In this high-tech world, you’re bound to find a lot of these questions (and their answers!) online. Avoid plagiarism and rewrite the answers using your word words.
4. Participate in group discussions.
If it’s a high-participation class, contribute 3-4 times. Otherwise, 1-2 times is fine because your teacher would be happy at least someone is making a contribution to the discussion. If you do not know the material, you can always ask intelligent follow-up questions.
5. Need help from your teachers?
Visit them in the office. No one usually sees teacher during office hours so they have time to answer your questions. Helping you is part of their job. Don’t hesitate to ask for their help.
6. LaTex, LyX, Mathematica, Overleaf & Detexify are very helpful for math/physics majors.
Start finding out how to use these and be less stressed. R-markdown is also another godsend, specifically for Stats students.
7. Get your textbook in pdf file.
Go on the Internet and type this syntax= filetype:pdf Name of the Textbook I Need. Wouldn’t it be great to use ctrl+F on a reading material? Another alternative is to rent or purchase these book from used books stores. Please do not waste so much money on textbooks during your college life, especially if these are not the type you would need after college.
8. Study like it’s a 9-5 job.
If you stick to a 9-5 school schedule (classes, homework, study, etc within that time frame), for instance, then you do not have to cram and pull all-nighters. The schedule makes it easier for you to prioritize what You can also impress future employers with your discipline and productivity.
9. Before a lecture starts, skim the introduction or section headings of the reading material.
This is especially helpful if you did not have time to study the previous day. It is always good to have a general idea of what the lecture is going to be about. You wouldn’t want to be clueless when all these terms and concepts start coming out.
10. Get a study buddy.
They don’t have to be your friends or someone who wants to study as well. They just have to be someone who is willing to help you stay on track. You could even pay somebody $5 in exchange for them regularly asking you for updates on and proof of your tasks (projects, homework, etc.)
11. Meal prep.
It is so easy to fall into bad eating habits when you start college. With all the stress of juggling school work and other responsibilities, you could find yourself drowning in fast food or instant noodles. Eating healthy food will keep you less sluggish PLUS save you a lot of money. Simple salads or chicken with rice divided into containers is something to look forward to, especially when you are too tired from having class all day.
12. Create your own study guide.
Photocopying someone’s notes is okay, but you might not fully absorb the information because the note-taker’s mind works differently from yours. Their way of thinking = their notes. Rewrite the notes in a way that you understand.
13. Find out the most infrequently used bathroom on campus or your building.
Then, find out when it gets cleaned. With so many people on campus, you will be very grateful when you need THAT bathroom time.
14. Find out the nearest restrooms to the executive offices.
These are usually better maintained than the other restrooms. They probably have nicer toilet paper. Some even have an actual rest area with a couch and end table.
15. Find out parking zones that are NEVER enforced.
You’d be surprised at how much you’ll end up saving. Give yourself a budget for parking tickets. Oh, and NEVER tell anyone about your parking spot.
16. GET. ENOUGH.SLEEP.
This cannot be stressed enough. If you think that losing sleep is worth doing well on next day’s test, you are in for a shock. With enough sleep, you retain more of the information that you study.
17. Put your syllabi where you can always see it.
So many things happen in college that it would be very easy to miss a project or a test. Make sure you can always see what you need to do so you can devote enough time to prepare for it.
18. Get involved in out-of-school projects that are related to your major.
This can give you personal experience that is helpful in group discussions. You can also include these projects on your resume and impress a potential employer.
19. Get yourself a calendar.
Fill it up with deadlines and test dates so you can plan your month or week accordingly. This practice is most especially helpful if you are planning to be or already are a working student.
20. Use proper grammar for anything your professor will give a grade on.
Almost, if not all, college instructors have a keen eye for grammar mistakes. Sites like Grammarly and programs with grammar check features can help you but only when you have access to them. When you pay attention to grammar rules often, you’ll find yourself recognizing and correcting your mistakes easily.
21. When your essay is 1/2 or 3/4 done, ASK input from your teacher if possible.
They will always be willing to steer you in the right direction. Or, would you rather submit doubtful and have to rewrite?
22. Socialize and build networks.
There is a time to study, a time to rest & sleep, AND a time to socialize. Build & maintain relationships with teachers, classmates, co-workers, or potential employers. These networks can be big advantage to you as you go through college and even after.
23. Record lectures when possible & take down notes.
While it is great to take notes, it would be even better to have a lecture you can listen to over and over in case you missed taking down information. As for note-taking, be realistic and do not write stuff word-for-word. Scribble down only the pertinent information. Make up your own “shorthand” like an arrow for to/toward or a “+” for and.
24. HIDE YOUR PHONE when it is time to study.
There is no stronger distraction than your cell phone when you are bored or frustrated with your reading material. On that note, refrain from opening up your social media account(s) when working on your computer. Stick to the reason you are missing out on sleep or hanging out with your friends: GO STUDY!
25. Ask for help.
There’s a reason you have professors and classmates. It is always better to reach out when you need it than pretend you’re okay. If you wait until the last minute to send out an S.O.S., there might not be enough time for the help to make a difference.