Wendy Hacker — Today, you can go to school in your PJ’s just as easily as opting to attend classes on a local campus. Regardless of your learning environment though, there are some practical tips that might seem basic at first, but really can make a positive difference in your ability to retain new concepts. Surprisingly, you’ll notice that some of them sound suspiciously similar to things that your mother might have told you while you were growing up.
Be Prompt: Timeliness comes into play both when you’re attending classes, as well as in other aspects such as submitting assignments or declaring your intentions to study a particular subject. Some disciplines, such as healthcare, are in high demand, so you may have to take entrance exams or submit a portfolio to be accepted before you’re able to start taking classes. Do whatever works for you to ensure that you’re able to handle everything within the deadline. When you’re not, it’s stressful, and also often makes others have a bad impression of you.
Be Kind to Yourself: As much as you might like to be, you’re not Superman. When you’re picking out classes for the upcoming semester, try to space them out so that you’re not packing everything into a mere couple of days. If you’re taking online classes, you might have the luxury of logging in to access content whenever it’s most convenient, or you may have to hop online at specified times to watch live video lectures. At first, it probably seems appealing to only have to deal with school work for, say, three days out of the whole week; but that’s not the kind of schedule that many people can keep up for very long without letting their concentration slip. It’s also crucial to take care of yourself when you’ve got an exam to deal with. These regular occurrences have a way of making the most dedicated students feel uneasy. You’ll have a better experience if you stay on top of your coursework throughout the whole semester instead of just when it’s time to ace a test. If you must resort to cramming, intersperse your intensive sessions with rest breaks where you allow yourself to momentarily focus on other things.
Get Enough Sleep! This one is probably especially similar to what your mother told you as a child, but it truly is important to get enough sleep. Many people need at least seven hours per night to function properly, and if you fall into a pattern of sacrificing sleep for too long, you’ll soon feel the effects. After all, five-hour energy shots can only take you so far!
Rely on Others: Your college experience is not the time to be entirely self-reliant. Some degree of independence is really helpful, especially if you’re highly motivated to obtain your degree, and refuse to let anything or anyone distract you. However, your professors and other classmates are there to enhance your college experience and you should tap into their resources. Even online classrooms often have message boards and live chat features that recreate a live setting as much as possible.
Many strategies of how to succeed in college are largely based in common sense, so you already have the skills you need to stay level-headed. Now, just unlock them for your own benefit. Happy studying!
About the Author
Wendy Hacker writes for education blogs where you can learn more about getting an online MHA degree.