Studying is a struggle that students have to deal with everyday. A lot of people, older and younger, underestimate how hard some classes and concepts may be in college. I feel like sometimes adults laugh at me and say “I wish I was still in college” and for some students college is a breeze but I have had a struggle. Adapting to college was not hard for me but rather the studying and prioritizing is what I struggle in. Studying animals is a lot of fun but it is also a ton of work as well and some people take advantage of that. I do projects to help our agricultural society which helps people manage farms and the animals better which in turn is where your food comes from. Anyway, I will stop rambling because I am extremely passionate about what I study and could write 100 more blog posts about it. The main point of this blog is to give some tips that I have learned over my time here in college and what has helped me succeed as a busy, overwhelmed student.
- Pay attention, take notes, and go to class. There is nothing more important than actually listening. I have gone to classes and played on my phone the whole time, and then two weeks later I was cramming for the exam. It is not worth the stress.
- Don’t cram! Everyone has there own way of studying, and figure that out ASAP! For me I have to study two weeks in advance for an exam and I have to rewrite EVERYTHING…it is so time consuming but it is the only way I learn it.
- Take notes, take more notes, rewrite those notes in an outline, and say those notes out loud. Sometime flash cards help too!
- Take the practice exam. If one isn’t available make your own.
- Read the book. Most professors assign chapters to read all the time…I don’t do this because it is really hard to do that for every class but if you have some free time before class while you are waiting for it to start just skim the chapter so you understand the lecture that day.
- Ask your professor questions if you don’t understand something. If you are in a huge 500 person lecture then wait until after class or email them. Most professors are extremely nice and love when students want help.
- Go to your professor often, not just before an exam. I honestly think I passed one of my classes just because I went for help all the time. Professors remember you coming into their office while they are making final grades.
- Prioritize. If you have homework, haven’t worked out yet, are exhausted, need to eat, and have two club meetings at 7pm write a list (if you can’t tell this is my everyday schedule) and figure out what is more important to you. For me I would do my work first no matter what.
- Make lists. I have hundreds of sticky notes around my desk and I also have the stickies app on my computer. I make to do list a week in advance and add to it as my week goes on. I make sure I get what needs to be done first.
- Do not underestimate your grades. My biggest mistake was that I did not think how much my grades mattered and how they were weighed. For example, if you have a 1 credit class and a 4 credit class you should be focusing on your 4 credit class more. That does not mean blow off the 1 credit course because that can take you from a 3.5 to a 3.6 gpa so it is important to know how it works.
- Do not underestimate your homework, smaller assignments/quizzes, and attendance. It can also take you from a B to an A, trust me it has for me.
- Let loose and relax. Having fun is also important! Last semester I found this a struggle. My freshman year I did this very well. I would do all of my work nonstop throughout the week and have fun on the weekends but on Sundays I would go back to studying. This fall I tended to study all day every day and I had multiple mental breakdowns and anxiety attacks. I formed my anxiety last semester and it sucks so don’t kill yourself studying either.
There are so many other things I can add to this and if I think of more I will but to my future friends/family coming to Penn State (my cousin Allie!) congrats but don’t underestimate anything. It is all worth it in the end. Especially when you finish finals with above a 3.5 GPA! I know this might not seem to make sense with a blog about Australia but it does. The reason I am in Australia is because of my success in college. I had to apply and be interviewed for this trip and getting good grades and being able to adapt to different environments and situations is very important. Right now as we speak I am studying for my big exam over here. I am so nervous because I just don’t feel prepared and it is because I did not prepare myself the right way. That was my motivation for this blog! To be able to research for the Animal Science department, get abroad opportunities, internship opportunities (I have one at the Lehigh Valley Zoo this Spring), and to hopefully get into vet school I must stay on track!