Next week, I will be starting my 5th and final year of college and let me tell you, the longer you go to school, the easier it gets. Throughout these past 5 years, I have learned what works and what doesn't, but it took me awhile to figure out.
I remember my first year at Selkirk College. I was not prepared. I had no idea what I was doing right out of high school. Let's be real, it's hard to make the transition. Thank goodness I spent most days in my dad's office at Selkirk learning his expertise. He got me a tutor who taught me how to study efficiently.
Then came Okanagan College. Rachel and I had a blast. It was a heck of a lot less stressful and made me realize that learning is my passion. This is when I noticed my habits were helping me become successful instead of wasting time. I figured out how to go to college properly. I learned education is life changing, if you do it right. If you don't, it can ruin a lot.
I saw a lot of friends, family and acquaintances struggle and quit school. I truly understand what it feels like to want to quit. I wish I could have helped them.
So, in honour of the new school year starting this upcoming week, I have written some tips and tricks that can hopefully help some of you. And remember...
School is meant to challenge you.
1. Learn how to take proper notes. I really struggled with this one at Selkirk. Nobody really teaches you this. I was doing crap in a course so my dad got me to meet up with a tutor, he showed me his way of taking notes. When going through a powerpoint or a chapter, first write down the titles, then under each title you can write out the subtitles. After those are done, you then can go into the smaller details (key words, phrases) of each subtitle. DON'T FOCUS ON THE TINY DETAILS. Look at the pbigger picture. Don't waste your time writing out information you don't need. It is more efficient to know the overall big picture. Focus on the important words.
2. Colour-code your notes. Make all the titles the same colour, and then all the subtitles a different colour. Highlighters are very handy for this. This will help you find things more easily. Sticky notes are also great.
3. Don't buy the textbook for the class unless it is 100% mandatory. This will save you lots of money in the end. See if you can share textbooks with friends, buy for cheaper online or buy used ones at your bookstore. Not every class necessarily needs a textbook, I wish I knew this before.
4. Get to know your professors. This is the best part about college. Small class sizes means you can build a relationship with your teacher, making it easier to understand what they are looking for in assignments. Ask them any questions you have, they are happy to help you be successful.
5. Get involved around campus. I know a lot of students are "too cool" to get involved in events around campus but let me tell you it is one of the best ways to make connections, friends and lifetime memories! I worked for my dad at Selkirk's gym and as nervous as I was, it was a wonderful learning experience. There will always student lead events happening on campus, don't be afraid to take part in them. You usually get free food and goodies. Building a positive social community is key to your health.
6. Volunteer. Even if it is just a couple hours a semester, it looks great on a resume. Volunteering can be one of the main reasons you win a scholarship or get accepted.
7. Find a work-study position. I have worked at every college I have been to. The perks are amazing. I currently get priority registration because of my student position at Douglas College. There are times when you can study on the job, they work around your student schedule, have short working hours and you get to meet other students. Whether it is at the front desk of the gym or helping at the library, it is definitely worth it to make some extra money while going to school.
8. Don't get caught up on the small stuff. Failing a quiz or test may seem like the end of the world but think about it... It's one test (out of the 1000 you take in your life), for one class that you most likely will still be able to pass. I have cried and stressed over many tests in the past, just to realize I end up doing okay on them anyway. Life is short, try your best and move on.
9. Take care of yourself first. Letting school overpower your life is easy but not necessary. Focussing on your health will help you perform better in the long run. Sleep, eat good, and exercise. It is simple and effective.
10. DO NOT PULL ALL NIGHTERS TO STUDY. This is a terrible idea that science has proven to be UNEFFECTIVE in the long run. Your brain can't obtain much information after 11 PM. Your body will hate you the next day. Not sleeping properly has damaging effects on your immune system and trust me, you do not want to get sick during finals.
11. Use the student services on campus. I can't stress this enough. The college wants you to be successful so they offer many services to help you throughout the semester! Take advantage of this. Things such as counselling, tutoring, and fitness classes are usually free for all students. Most schools also have discounts at dentists, optometrists and doctors offices, which lead me to my next point.
12. Use student discounts as much as you can.
All schools offer student discounts at local and international businesses. Take advantage of this. Get that 20%!!! Save money any way you can.
13. Study daily.
Whether you want to or not, keeping up with your homework is a necessity. The longer you leave things, the more stressful you can be.
14. Start assignments as soon as you hear about them.
I've been doing this for years now. It can be just writing that first paragraph. Or even creating a outline for the project. Getting a head start will help you feel better when that deadline creeps up!
Okay friends, that is all I have for you today. I hope your educational experiences are life changing like mine were. I hope you succeed, learn and grow. Remember that your
Thanks for reading!