College is full of fun and therefore full of distractions too. It may be challenging at times to remain focused on your academics in the midst of making new friends, clubs and parties. Try to always keep the big picture in mind. In order to justifying playing hard, you got to work hard in your college classes.
Thinking college will be a breeze like high school was
I’ve seen so many students make this mistake. I work as a tutor on campus, and I see students not doing as well as they thought they would when they first came in as clueless freshmen. Students have to set high expectations for themselves and be willing to work for the grades they want on their transcripts. The sooner you understand this, the easier it will be in the long run.
As much as you want to do well on an upcoming test, there really is no use in opting to cheat during exams. When students get caught, they get worse grades, not because they failed the test, but because they failed the honor code. Even if you do get away with the act, you probably won’t feel good about doing it.
Not handing in assignments on time
It will be easy to miss out on getting that coveted A because you don’t hand in their assignments on time. When you’re on top of your assignments and follow their due dates, you will be prepared for anything your professor throws at you. Some argue that a GPA is only a number, and that is somewhat true, but at least work hard on everything you’re handed in classes.
Not showing up to class
You took an 8:30 a.m. on Friday and found out that your professor clearly doesn’t care about attendance. While it is okay to skip a class or two throughout the semester due to your massive hangover, don’t make it a habit to systematically skip the same class over and over. Grab a coffee and show up so your professor actually knows your name by the end of the semester.
Doing ALL the readings before class
While showing up to class completely unprepared with no idea what’s going on is not recommended, doing every single reading that is assigned before the class is usually pointless. Unless your professor is known for surprise quizzes, it is usually enough to skim through the assigned textbook chapters and get to class with an idea of what will be discussed. The best time to go over the chapters and make a study guide or flash cards is after that class. That way the material is still fresh in your mind and your study guide will be typed up and ready to be reviewed when it’s time for midterms and finals.
Not taking advantage of the FREE campus resources
You may not know that your campus is full of resources to help you succeed. Struggling with papers? Head to the writing center. Can’t understand a word of your Spanish homework? Your school probably has a bunch of international students working at the language center. Failing calculus? Meet with a math tutor a couple of times of week to get some help with your homework. Best of all, everything is “free”, or technically included in your college tuition.
Going straight to your dorm after class
Get involved in campus activities or go to the library when you’re out of class. It’s better to venture out and about than be lazy and shell up in your dorm. More often than not, there will be plenty of ongoing activities around campus organized by the school’s student organizations, etc. Go out and have fun! Make friends and forget your worries for a while. By the end of your four years, you might even accumulate resumé-worthy points.
Ignoring extra credit opportunities
One of the exams was hard and a good majority of the class got a bad grade, so with the kindness of his/her heart the professor offers a path to redemption with a paper for extra credit. Even if by some miracle you did pretty well on that test, take the chance at the extra credit. You never know what’s coming on the final, and it’s literally free points.
Disregarding your health
Even thought this isn’t necessarily part of class, it plays a huge role in how you will perform when you are in class. In the midst of studying and partying (hopefully not too much), try to remember to eat actual meals (Venti iced coffees and library bagels don’t count) and fit in a couple trips to the campus gym. While you will most likely cram before exams, all-nighters and study-aid pills are a dangerous combos. It may seem like an easy way to succeed but a couple hours at the library and a good night of sleep will work better in the long run (plus you won’t crash when it’s time to party after your exam’s over)
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.