So you’ve found the right university, and have already chosen out your major. Great! But now comes the challenging part which is actually going to uni and surviving.
But how do other students manage to outrun their own abilities through such a trying period?
Top students are those you catch out of the corner of your eye. They get their exam papers back, calmly flip through the few (if there are any) mistakes, and quickly place their 94% into their bag.
That’s right, we’re talking about those students who make it look so easy in spite of everything we face through college.
But what we don’t realize is that under the surface there is an assembly of good, well-placed habits and mindsets that make that individual so successful in class. When we talk about good habits, there aren’t just a few, but an aggregation of many habits linked to produce high-level academic achievement.
1. They don’t always do all their homework
Contrary to what you might have heard, assignments in college generally make up 5-20% of your grade, but for most students this can be the biggest time-suck. Indeed, working on your problems can be one of the best ways to delve through fresh concepts into working knowledge, but many of these problems may even take you hours and hours to work through and some of them you’ll never see on an exam.
2. They study in short cycles, not long marathons
It goes without saying that studying in short cycles will help you focus more intensely as you know there is at least a short break coming. There are numerous apps that can help you set a natural activity and reset the cycle of your body, which makes studying continuously for numerous hours counterproductive.
3. They learn how to budget
Budgeting is imperative in college. That said, chances are that moving to university will be one of your first experiences of living independently. One essential skill you’ll need to master before day one of university is how to budget. Most of the students do not have unlimited money and if you don’t keep track of your cash, you’ll end up losing it all very quickly.
We know this might sound daunting for many of you, but budgeting isn’t as hard as you heard. Where to start? First you have to find out how much money you have and deduct. We recommend you to work on a monthly basis with a weekly breakdown of what you’ll actually need to spend, how much you’ll need to spend and how often you’ll spend that amount of money. Of course, that means you’ll need to make sacrifices, but if not having Netflix means you’re affording to eat, it’s worth it.
When it comes to money, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Usually parasitic companies like payday loans will most certainly jump on the chance to ensnare you if you’re afraid and unsure what to do, so you should ask for help before you get that frantic.
4. They over-learn
University is difficult enough, with the amount of studying and homework you have to deal with. But on top of all that social media you have to get tone. It might seem silly to suggest to study more than you actually have to.
What, what? Are you insane?
Believe or that’s what bets students do. It doesn’t matter if they need to take those extra chemistry classes, because paradoxically they still end up spending less time trying to figure out how to do homework, and spend less time learning for exams because of it. When students choose to over-learn what’s offered in class, they’re able to build a better context for the subject.
Just think about it. You’re trying to remember some details about a history event. You try to remember some dates, study some facts and over and over again but this is just getting tediously. But what if you already know some of these facts earlier? You manage to construct a story in your head, even though there is more information, your brain knows how to handle it now that all these facts are smoothly linked together.
5. They make the best out of their lecture
Yes, your tutors are boring and lectures as well. And it’s either too fast so you can’t keep up and miss all the essential stuff, or it’s way too slow and you start spacing out because you already have caught everything.
But top students look at it differently: They choose to be there no matter what, thinking about their best use of time while in the classroom. They bring what textbooks they need, they ask questions and search stuff, focus only on the important practice problem and take note, try to anticipate what the professor is going to say, and most importantly they highlight a potential exam topic.
6. They aren’t afraid to voice their opinions
Admittedly it can be difficult to do it in your first year. However, if you never voice your belief, nothing is going to change. Simply put, you’re going to shape your uni experience though what you choose to say and do.
Don’t like how a certain module is taught? Try to use this opportunity and ask your department for some improvements. Don’t you favor a decision made by the student body? Don’t avoid raising your concerns so things can be treated differently next time. That said, you should feel free to voice out your mind without fear of dismissal or repercussion. Without confrontation, the conversation never starts.
While speaking out your opinion isn’t that important to surviving university, it can be the sort of change you most definitely wish to see in the world.
Most probably you’ve heard it dozens of times but it’s worth repeating – change always starts with you, and if you learn to stand up for yourself you can do amazing things with that opinion.