Everyone starting college gets the opportunity to start fresh with their academics. This can be a very exhilarating or daunting task. We all aim to do our best academically, whether that means maintaining a certain GPA or acing our next exam. I think the most common misconception about college academics is the idea that, now that you are here, you’re on your own. 

This could not be further from the truth. College is a community of individuals eager to help you grow into a successful scholar. My personal experience of two years as a biology major has opened my eyes to the wealth of resources available to excel in classes, even the hardest ones. 

Seek Student Tutoring 

In every class of every major, there are amazing students who excelled in their courses and are willing to give their time as academic tutors. This is always an approachable option to me. You can go to the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and schedule appointments for multiple classes at a time that works for you. 

Office Hours 

As busy as they are in the classroom, professors are available to meet with you during office hours. I spend at least four to five hours a week in my calculus professor's office working through extra problems. My professor had a section on Canvas to sign up for a time to meet, but every professor has a different process, so be sure to acquaint yourself with how each of your professors schedule office hours. 

Find a Place to Study

With tons of homework to complete, it’s important to pick a good spot to study. If you enjoy a quiet study space as I do, the library might be a great option. The library’s many resources and the ability to get out of my dorm to study makes this an ideal spot.

Of all the places to study in the library, my favorite option is to reserve a room. Go to the Murdock Library homepage and click on Reserve a Room; there, you may pick a room and a time to study for a few hours or late into the night. 

Communication is Key 

It’s absolutely essential to communicate with your professors in college. The classes will be more fast-paced than you’re probably used to, so if you start falling behind or just have clarifying questions, let your professors know. You also need to alert them when you have an illness, a performance or an athletic event – anything that will prevent you from attending class. Be proactive. 

Supportive Friends 

I went through a period where I found myself hanging around people who didn’t make academics a priority. Fortunately, I was able to find good friends who were also good study partners. In short, who you choose to hang out with is a critical factor in your academic success. It took me a while to find “my people,” but once I did I found it helpful to have friends in my major who encouraged me to study.

Some Tips and Tricks 

All of the things I’ve previously mentioned have helped me pave the way for success in my studies, but sometimes it's not the big things but rather the little things that matter when setting up a good system for yourself. 

Make a Google Calendar/Spreadsheet 

Teachers have always encouraged students to make planners, but in college it is essential. Now that so many assignments are turned in online they are easy to lose track of. Making a Google Calendar of all my assignments and test dates is an easy way to stay on top of everything. Another route is going to the syllabus and copying all the assignments, color coating them by class, then sorting them by date. This is another easy way to stay organized. 

Know When to Take Breaks

As an avid scholar who has a daunting amount of work, I’ve had to learn to give myself grace in the process. The best way to thrive while doing homework is to notice when you have worked hard and it is OK to step away. 

If Something isn't Working for you, Try Something New

Finding the thing that works for you is sometimes hard and doesn’t always happen right away. Previously you may have procrastinated or not studied at all, but trying one method of studying and doing poorly on a test does not mean you should not try something new. I have found different methods of study work better for different types of exams, but this takes time. 

Always Turn It In

The most important tip I can give you is to turn in every assignment a teacher gives you. There are circumstances that lead to not turning assignments in on time, but our professors are understanding. Sometimes an explanation is enough for them to give you full credit. If not, all teachers have a late policy, and my motto is “some credit is better than none.” 

If you find yourself following these tips, you are on the right track to getting good grades. I encourage you to remind yourself that, when things get hard, you have support. I constantly remind myself of this when I feel I cannot study for any more exams.

​​“I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.

Now don’t read too many more blogs; you have studying to do!

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