Being successful at the University of California is going to take a lot of hard work (of course!) and practice. Everyone who goes to university always needs a little advice beforehand. Whether they know it or not. I went through a lot of stress and problems my first year, and didn’t have all the advice I wish I had. With this advice you should fare much better than most. Here are some tips to give you an idea of what you should focus on in trying to be successful at UCLA.
1) Organize Your Time
Balance your academics, social life and extracurricular activities. You can do this with a planner or some sort of calendar. There’s an awesome online calendar that Google provides, where it can work like a calendar, allowing you to plan out your every hour.
2) Get Involved!
If there are extra activities, organizations and clubs at UCLA you can join and be apart of- do it. Your GPA play an important role in what kind of job you’ll land or whether or not you’ll get a place in graduate school- but it’s not all about GPA. For instance, as a physics major, I chose to start doing research project early- even if they’re not as deep in theory as the upperclassmen. I’m just trying to get my toes wet.
3) Be Focused
This involves always going to class, taking good notes and reviewing them for as long as you need. Do not study in your room- due to the kind of environment a bedroom creates, this is not an optimal place for you to study. Try the library, a study room, outside if it’s nice- avoid your room if you can.
4) Look For Good Professors
Seek them out. When its registration time and you’re looking at classes- research ALL of your professors. UCLA students who have had this professor previously will rate them on easiness, clarity and helpfulness. This will allow you to choose a professor that’s right for you. And yes- there is such thing as a bad professor. It’s actually hard to find a good professor, but I’m lucky enough to have found quite a few.
5) Joining a UCLA’s Club
Joining a club is an ingenious way to kill two birds with one stone. Clubs are a great way to meet new people with the similar interests as well as doing something enjoyable. I highly recommend also joining a club that is totally foreign because learning new skills or experiencing and probably finding a new hobby does not hurt.
6) Checking Out the Gym
Having a healthy lifestyle is needed in order to do well in school, especially in university. Although there is always the high chance that the gym may be packed during certain hours due to the number of students, visiting the gym at random times and making a record of what time of the day it usually gets full is a start.
7) Taking a Walk Around Campus
University is huge. As a freshman, it will take time to get used to the different trails and classrooms. Going on a hike or simply taking a walk out of the dorms is a pleasant way to just get out and clear the head from unneeded worries or stress. Getting some sunlight instead of staying indoors cooped up in a tiny room is a great way to get fresh air. Depending on the campus, there may even be wildlife wandering around, so have that camera ready for some lovely photos.
8) It Doesn’T Hurt To Have A Job
Don’t immediately shrug this off as a bad idea. Give some serious thought. It’s a valuable skill to be able to juggle a job, do well in school, be social, and keep a healthy body and mind. If you want a job but you’re worried about how well you’re going to do,, try finding a tutoring job. You’ll get practice on a subject you know about, and therefore will have it fresh in your memory. Also, it’s a great, rewarding feeling to help a fellow peer make that “light click” for them.
9) Find Appropriate Study Places at UCLA
You have a whole new, beautiful campus in front of you to study at. Find quiet areas with little distractions. If you put yourself into a room with a lot of little distractions, even if you’re getting work done, it’ll take you a longer time to study, and you won’t get as much out of it.
10) Making The Most of University of California
Depending on the major or how many years planned to spend in university, the time spent in university is limited. Instead of dreading the future and having to pay off university loans, experience the university life that makes people always talk about in day-to-day conversations.
11) Know What You Can Do
Know what your limits are. If you really feel like a class is just out of your grasp- that you just can’t get it, then withdraw from it. It’s for your own good. Maybe you need to retake some of the previous classes that come before the class you’re struggling in. Perhaps you’re just not prepared yet.
Usually- it’s not that a class is beyond your reach. It’s the major lack of studying skills. High-school has taught students very poor studying skills. For instance, math classes teach you some theory and do some problems. Then those same exact problems are placed on tests or quizzes with different numbers. Or, there are questions on a test of quiz with pretty much identical structure.
12) Don’t Stress
Don’t stress! This is a big one and this is number one for a lot of reasons. If you are stressing out to the point where you are constantly sick or run down, that is bad. It may sound strange that stress can do that to you, but it really does.
13) Have Fun
Have fun…but not too much. There is a reason you have so much free time to do stuff in university. In high school you go to school eight hours a day five days a week. That is forty hours a week. Your first year of classes you will probably be attending classes fifteen to eighteen hours a week, Sometimes more sometimes less.
14) Be Thrifty
Don’t buy books and essays from the bookstore. Seriously. A few weeks to months before classes start, look for what books you will need. Most of the time you will find broke UCLA’s students selling their books and essays for cheap because the bookstore won’t buy them back, and that happens, a lot. If you want new over-priced books, its fine to look at the bookstore.
15) Work Hard, But Not Too Hard
Work, but don’t let it get in the way of school. You will always need money in university, and if you can budget and save you are already off on a good start. Find easy ways to make money. Donate plasma, work part time doing easy jobs that let you work on homework while you do them. Work study front desk jobs are great for this. If you have work study, try to find a job on campus. These jobs are easy money. If you have to use your work study to pay off school, at least you are working at a simple job. Sell things you don’t need or your body! Not prostitution or stripping (unless you really want to), but sell your plasma, eggs, sperm, hair, or participate in clinical trials. If you are hurting for cash, these are all great ways to make fast money.
16) Go to Class
Go to class. Go to class. Go to class. Missing because you are sick is fine. You can make it up, no big deal. Skipping every Friday to go hang out with your friends or because you are hung over is bad. I will admit that I have done this. I did really poorly in these classes too. The classes I hated, but went to, I did well in. Just because I was there. If you go to class at UCLA, even if you are bad at the subject, you tend to learn more about it just by listening. Being there makes the difference. This takes me to my next point.
17) Don’t Procrastinate
Finally its time avoid the one thing a most UCLA students do at one point or another. You will get huge five, ten, fifty page papers. When you know about them, start working on them. Don’t start working on them the day before they are due. Don’t start working on them at eleven PM when you know it will take a good five hours of work to get at least a C.
Final point. Learn to love coffee. Coffee will wake you up in the morning if you had to study all night for a test, coffee will keep you up all night when you have to study for that test. Coffee as amazing. You will learn to love coffee throughout your UCLA experience. Just drink it.
19) Don’t Get Discouraged
If you did poorly your first semester at UCLA, or second or whatever, it’s okay. Getting into the swing of things sometime in junior year will still look good in regards to applying to grad-schools or applying for a job. Do not let yourself feel discouraged. You’ll trick yourself into thinking you’re not very good at school- and what we think, we become.
20) Stay On Top Of Your Courses
This is the LAST thing you want, is to have to play catch-up. Stay on track. You won’t regret it. Keep up with your assignments, projects, notes, topics, readings, whatever. Just don’t let yourself slip. This is dangerous.