9. Keep healthy and balanced
It’s hard to live a balanced life while in school, I know. But the more balance you seek out in your life, the easier every component in your life becomes. If you spend all of your time focusing on a relationship or a game, you can see how easy it is to be out of balance. When you’re out of balance, the things you’re not focusing on – such as studying – become that much harder. Don’t spend all of your time studying – have friends, keep in touch with your family, and find interests outside of school that you can pursue and enjoy.
Finding balance isn’t really something that can be taught, it’s something that comes with experience and simply living. But you can work to try and keep your health and body balanced, by doing what you already know – exercise regularly and eat right. There are no shortcuts to health. Vitamins and herbs might help you in the short-term, but they’re not substitute for real, regular meals and a dose of exercise every now and again (walking to class is a start, but only if you’re spending an hour or two a day doing it).
Look at vitamins and herbs as they are intended – as supplements to your regular, healthy diet. Common herbs – such as ginkgo, ginseng, and gotu kola – may help you enhance mental abilities, including concentration, aptitude, behavior, alertness and even intelligence. But they may not, either, and you shouldn’t rely on them instead of studying regularly.
10. Know what the expectations are for the class
Different professors and teachers have different expectations from their students. While taking good notes and listening in class (and attending as many of the classes as you can) are good starts, you can do one better by spending some time with the instructor or professor’s assistant. Talking to the instructor early on – especially if you foresee a difficult course ahead – will help you understand the course requirements and the professor’s expectations. Maybe most students in the class are expected to get a “C” because the material is so difficult; knowing that ahead of time helps set your expectations, too.
Pay attention in class. If the instructor writes something on the whiteboard or displays it on the screen, it’s important. But if they say something, that’s important too. Copy these things down as they’re presented, but don’t zone out completely from what the instructor is also saying. Some students focus on the written materials without regard for what the instructor is saying. If you write down only one aspect of the professor’s instructions (e.g., just what they write down), you’re probably missing about half the class.
If you get a particularly bad grade on a paper or exam, talk to the instructor. Try and understand where things went wrong, and what you can do in the future to help reduce it from happening again.
Don’t forget to learn!
Studying isn’t just about passing an exam, as most students look at it as. Studying is an effort to actually learn things, some of which you might actually care about. So while you’ll have to take your share of classes that have little or nothing to do with your interests, you should still look for interesting things to take away from every experience.
By the time you’ll realize what a great opportunity school is, you’ll be well into the middle of your life with a lot of responsibilities – children, mortgages, career pressures, etc. Then most people have neither the time nor energy to go back to school. So take the time to learn some stuff now, because you’ll appreciate the opportunity later on.
Grohol, J. (2006). 10 Highly Effective Study Habits. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/top-10-most-effective-study-habits/000599
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.