The Bare Essentials: Tips For a Less Stressful College Experience

College may seem overwhelming at first, but once you've caught up with how everything works, what is expected of you and what you can expect from your chosen course of study, then your time in college should turn into an exciting learning and life-building experience. You've probably encountered heaps of advice on how to go about being a productive college student, but here are the bare essentials.

Prepare Yourself for College

Get yourself into the college mindset as soon as you arrive. You ARE a college student now. You're going to be expected to do college-level work at college-level standards. The amount of writing, reading and practice required is most definitely going to be an intense gear change for you. You better be mentally prepared for this transition in pace. College can, and will, be fun but it's no stroll in the park either. It takes a great amount of dedication to constantly maintain good grades in order to obtain the degree you're aiming for. But with the right attitude, you can make it through college virtually unscathed.

Read the Textbook

Actually read it! Its large and intimidating, but it's the only thing standing between you and an 'F' in your next exam. Many college students skim-read through their textbooks just to find the essential content. By doing this, they often overlook the fundamental information needed to understand the concepts they're studying. To avoid this, get into the habit of thoroughly reading through the chapters in all of your textbooks. This is also a very great prestudy method for theory-based classes.

Do NOT Procrastinate

College isn't high school, so don't think catching up on work when you've fallen behind will be easy. The work in college is very fast-pace and demanding of your time and concentration. Putting your college studies and assignments off to the last minute is like playing a game of academic Russian roulette - it doesn't always work, and it never results in your best work because you didn't put in your best effort initially. To avoid high stress and enjoy peaceful nights of long, guilt-free sleep, ensure you do your college work well before its needed.

Set Goals for Each Class

But don't set these goals immediately. Give yourself time to get a good feel of the class and what is being taught in it. Are you getting a good grip on the concepts? Do you need to put in some extra work just to understand what is going on? Once you understand what you can expect from what you're studying, you can set realistic goals on what you wish to achieve in a particular class and how you can go about achieving those goals. Goals are ideal for keeping on track with your studies. Colleges are academic institutions, but they can be teaming with distractions as well, goals can often act as a reminder for when you start to slack off, for when you get distracted, or when you caught up with less important priorities. 

Find the College Library

And perhaps locate other libraries near by as well. Once you get to college, you'll soon begin to see the library as an essential component of your college success. Libraries are great places for learning, studying or to just catch up on some work. They're always quiet, and this gives you the needed concentration to completely focus on the task at hand. Libraries are great places to find useful college resources too. Many offer printing, photocopying, computers, internet access and a whole range of other services. Trust me, sometimes your own resources will fail you, and its great to know of a few back up solutions in case your printer goes on the fritz or when there's no WiFi to aid your research.

College can be stressful at times, but it doesn't have to be. Follow these tips and you'll certainly enjoy peaceful nights and decent grades.

Best of luck!


Image: Flickr's Creative Commons 

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