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College Freshmen: Tips for Staying Ahead of Your Courses

Jayne Miller wrote this on Aug 15, 2015

First year at college. Huge, right? Exciting? Absolutely. Overwhelming? Okay, maybe that, too. But you’re going to own this semester; we can feel it.


And we’re so ready to help you take on a new year of classes. Here are some ideas for staying ahead of the pack.

Put it on Your Calendar

Oh, the sweet freedom of college. No bells telling you where to be. Tons of activities to plan on your own time. Lots of new friends to meet up with.

Here’s a little piece of advice: get a calendar that you love and can take with you everywhere. Now put everything on that calendar.

Managing your day can be a very new experience for freshmen used to the rhythms of high school. A simple calendar will keep you super aware of your time, which is a must for students prone to over-scheduling and stretching themselves thin.

Calendars, man!

Track when your classes are, when your clubs are meeting, and when you’ll need to bear down and study. If you do that, you'll know exactly when you’re free for some ultimate frisbee on the quad.

Prioritize

Okay, now we’re looking at all of you: the freshmen who went to the activities fair and signed up for everything right away, even though we just told you to keep tabs on your time.

If you want to stay ahead of your very new, very demanding workload, it’s best we learn to prioritize. That means you probably can’t stay committed to all 104 clubs you just signed up for.

Pick what matters the most to you. If you’re unsure, give a few activities a trial period, but commit yourself to narrowing down your commitments before fall break rolls around. Trust us, you’ll be able to dedicate more of yourself to the stuff you really enjoy doing without letting your actual coursework slip through the cracks.

If it’s homework you need help prioritizing, you always can use our Look Ahead feature to make sure you have enough time for everything your professors will be throwing at you. Create your own tasks, note how long you think you’ll need for each one, and let us calculate how much time you should be setting aside every week.

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Find a Study Group

What is the college experience without a group of loveable misfits uniting to pass a class together? Or maybe instead of loveable misfits, it’s just a bunch of kids from your dorm. That works too.

But see if you can’t round up a study group. There’s a lot to be said for learning with peers, dividing up tasks, and talking through new concepts with students in the same boat.

If you’ve already assembled your study dream team, we actually have a whole other piece on running a successful study session. Worth a read.

Take Care of Ya-self!  

Staying up late is fun. Going out and meeting new people is a must. And adding a few extra chicken tenders to your lunch tray is an exciting new element to living on your own. This isn’t lost on us.

But at the end of the day, just remember to treat yourself well. That means making time for sleep, creating a diet that’s not totally ramen-fueled, and getting some gym action after enjoying those extra chicken tenders.

Healthy body, healthy mind. To say on top of your new and demanding course load, you’ll need to be your best. (And hey, maybe one of these stress-busters will help you stay in top form.)

Ask for Help

The first year can be hard. Go easy on yourself and know when to look to a peer, professor, or counselor for help.

Maybe you just need an ear to talk about how different college life is. Or perhaps you find a course is moving too quickly for you to keep up.

Ask. Always ask. And never feel badly about it.

 

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Topics: Student Engagement, Chalkup, College, Inspiration