College is hard. You spend hours working yet sometimes feel defeated and it is easy to attribute a bad grade or a tough class on the professor, the program, or even on the smarter students. The following seven things helped me shake off the excuses and get the grades I wanted.
1 – SMART Goals
The first step to having the best semester yet is to plan it out. Sit down with your syllabus and determine what needs to be done to meet your goal. Using the SMART system makes it easy to determine what smaller achievements are needed in order to keep yourself on track for the semester. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound.
After figuring out what is needed for the semester, try creating a timeline of goals that can be looked back on frequently. Reminding yourself of what you’re working toward is not only beneficial to keeping you on track, but will also help motivate you during the latter part of the semester.
2 – Find People You Know
Challenge yourself to find one person in every class that you know or could get to know. Having a lifeline in each class can be incredibly helpful when it comes to studying and staying caught up. Sitting with the same people every class can also help hold you accountable to attend.
3 – Break It Down
Large projects or studying for an exam can be overwhelming. Try dedicating one notecard to one section of material. Go through your notes and lectures and reduce them down to only what is really important for your notecard. This not only helps studying one section at a time, but also makes it easier to review the entire chapter before the test.
4 – Practice, Practice, Practice
This piece of advice is exactly what it sounds like. The importance of repetition cannot be stressed enough. By taking the time to practice problems, you are not only setting yourself up to identify them better, but also solve them quicker. Avoid being surprised on the exam and do the work beforehand.
5 – Outside Resources
Don’t be afraid to look other places for help if the teaching style of a class doesn’t work for you. There are so many great resources online that offer different takes on the same material. Utilizing websites such as Khan Academy can quickly clear up confusion on specific topics.
If you are struggling to find options online, try on your campus! Many schools offer tutoring, writing help, or other opportunities to meet with TAs that have taken the classes you’re currently in. Ask your professor or advisor if you need help finding campus resources.
6 – Stay Motivated
The mid-semester slump is real. Don’t let it be you! Stay motivated throughout the semester by remembering to take breaks and enjoy college. This will help avoid the burnout and give your body time to absorb all the information you’re throwing at it.
Similarly, bad days are inevitable, but they don’t have to define an entire semester. There is nothing wrong with reevaluating goals mid-semester and changing your routine to make your end goal possible.
7 – Treat Yourself
Accomplishing a goal is exciting and deserves to be celebrated. Reward yourself for meeting milestones throughout the semester as well as making your overall goal. Choose something that you enjoy but don’t usually do as a large reward for the end of the semester. Smaller treats could be things such as a drink you wouldn’t normally spend money on or an hour of your favorite show.
These seven tips will get you on the right track for success this semester! These are traits I learned throughout my college experience that I hope will inspire you to strive for the best possible grades in your classes!