University is a rather special time of life, filled with carefree and stressful life. You are independent, maybe let go alone in nature, you have moved to another city and your adult life is starting to take shape. So many changes! You have to make choices, you are going to have to work a lot. There is no miracle recipe for success in higher education. Everyone experiences it differently, with their own style. However, on a closer look, those who succeed in their studies have a few common characteristics.
Part 1 of 3: How to study
Step 1. Stop postponing what you have to do until the next day
College classes, especially the first half of the year, aren't that hard. However, unlike in high school, you will have very little supervision at university and therefore you will have to work on your own. We are not asking you to stupidly regurgitate your lessons. You have to build up a knowledge, a methodology. Obviously, this requires a lot more work and autonomy.
- Put work first, but give yourself rewards. Do not go out until you have finished your work. On the other hand, have an extraordinary party while waiting for the results. Treat yourself to that gig you've been dreaming about now that you've succeeded. You will see, it will motivate you.
- Plan your work. Your student life is a life of intellectual work, a social life and a daily life, not forgetting the moments of relaxation and rest. And a day only has 24 hours! Must therefore plan a minimum. Before the start of each week, you must know, more or less (it will depend on your character), the organization of the week in question.
Step 2. Be passionate about what you study
It is essential that you have a specific interest in your field of study. When choosing your course, ask yourself what you want to do after your studies: what degrees could help you get there and what are the areas that interest you in general and more specifically? College is a new step towards professional life and what a step! Ask yourself what you want to do next, think about your direction and ask yourself how you are going to be able to prepare for it through your studies.
Step 3. Don't over-specialize at the start
Have a fairly open curriculum even if you already know what your preferred field is. Expand your field of study. There will always be time to specialize! More than half of the students realize that they are not well oriented during this first semester at the university. Some even change orientation 2 or 3 times. Hence the importance of initially opting for a broad course, if it is possible of course!
If you think about it, in today's world there is no definitive career. Everyone agrees in thinking, work organizations and statistical institutes in mind (even if it is difficult to follow a cohort of students!), That most will certainly have to change sector or even profession in their field. professional life. Gone are the days of making a career in the same company! You understand the value of having a broad curriculum. This is called "having several arrows on your bow!" "
Step 4. Pay attention to what other students are saying
But, don't take it all at face value! You will hear about teachers who are "cool" and those who are not, about promising sectors and bites. Listen to these reviews! Granted, not all of them are founded, but at least you are warned. It is a good exercise to sort through this information, you will be confronted with it throughout your life. In this, it is a good preparation.
Step 5. Get closer to your teachers
They are no longer your "enemies" as in high school. The relationship is now different. The teachers are there to help you succeed and you are more mature. You will be able to progress by asking them and following their advice. This will strengthen your network and maybe you will also have new friends!
- Meet them, if only as a courtesy. Show who you are, teachers have so many students. If you have a date, tell them your ideas, your difficulties. This way, your teacher knows what kind of student he is dealing with. If you are serious and diligent, you will derive a positive assumption that can result in better grades.
- Find yourself a mentor, a tutor. It could be a teacher, an older student who is interested in you, with whom you get along well. This mentor will give you advice, help you choose your subjects and maybe find a job at the end of your studies.It is more than important to have such a person with you!
Step 6. Develop good work habits
Of course, not everyone works the same! Some work with TV or music, others in absolute silence. Some like to work in groups better, others alone. It's up to you to find what makes you the most effective! Likewise, ask yourself some questions that may be implicit for you.
- Are you the type to understand quickly or on the contrary do you need weeks to accumulate knowledge?
- What type of learner are you?
- Do you have a memory auditory ? Do you remember oral lessons better? Do you remember your lessons better if they are read aloud?
- Do you have a memory visual ? Do you remember written lessons better? Do you prefer graphics, books or watching an experiment?
- Do you have a memory touch ? Do you learn best by touching? Do you prefer practice to theory? Can't you imagine learning without doing?
- Important note: What time of the day do you work most efficiently? Are you more of the morning, evening, early afternoon? You need to be aware of those times when you are putting off work and those times when you are totally ineffective. Plan your work accordingly.
Step 7. Define your academic goal
If you don't, you might drop out of college and then later wonder if you did the right thing. Everyone at college has a goal! Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses! Do not set yourself a goal that you know deep down that you are unable to achieve for this or that reason. Be ambitious, but realistic! Also, don't forget what life you want later!
Part 2 of 3: Socializing
Step 1. Make friends
Good ! University is bigger than high school and you can feel lost! It's heard ! At the beginning, everyone is in the same boat! After the surprise of the first few days, you will quickly build relationships with dozens, maybe hundreds, of people with whom you will study or just have a good time. Later you will remember the good old days when you met lots of people! Many are nostalgic for their college years!
Step 2. Get involved in clubs, events, traditions
Of course, you know since there was almost the same thing in high school. But this is different, because we will not force you to participate. It will be up to you to get involved! Participating in these activities goes beyond the strictly fun or festive nature of the thing: it is also present and future social relations. By force of circumstances, you will meet people who have the same interests as you, but also people with whom you will only go a long way or people who do not see life in the same way. that you. " That's life ! ": It's a kind of shortcut to real life!
Try to widen your circle of relationships. Of course, we like to share what we like with people we meet frequently. But the danger is that we risk hanging out with people who are too similar to us when there are so many interesting people around. Don't be exclusive in your relationships
Step 3. Celebrate
Student parties are the subject of a myth: everyone talks about them as “orgiastic” events, but no one has really experienced such events! Hollywood has been there! You may be disappointed if you plan to participate in this kind of evening. Well almost ! Most student parties are not like what you see in movies or TV series (although in some establishments… come on!). Be yourself in these kinds of meetings, smile and be ready to meet people. Who said that "success" has to be limited to only university results?
- Be a happy, respectful party animal! Do not throw your corpses of bottles everywhere at the one who invites you, do not squat in his bed without his permission! Don't mess around with your kitchen! Bring your gift to the evening: don't come empty-handed. If you are well behaved and generous, you will always be invited!
- Beware of drug-related addictions! Are there "soft" drugs and "hard" drugs? Opinions are divided. If alcohol and weed, taken in reasonable amounts, do not get you to the hospital, the same will not be the case with cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, and other pain relievers taken in large doses. You could die! Some students take advantage of the years at university to learn about drugs. It is not an obligation, do what your conscience tells you. Don't force yourself to take something just because others say it's good! When it comes to drugs, you don't always know what you're taking.
Step 4. On the sex side, take precautions
Many freshmen have an abysmal ignorance when it comes to sex. It is easy to brag about his so-called exploits in this area, but they talk about them more than they accomplish them. Studies show that students have, in a year, only one sexual partner, if any! Another report showed that 59% of students had had no sexual partner in the last 30 days.
- " Go out well wrapped up, go out warmly dressed ". Boy or girl, always have a condom if you have any sex. If used properly, a condom is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Don't have sex without protection! It only takes one unprotected intercourse to contract diseases like herpes, HIV or any other STI! Know that the pleasure you took by making unprotected love will disappear very quickly, but, on the other hand, this herpes that you have caught, will stay with you for life! To meditate !
- Alcohol can distort your judgment and influence your decision-making. It also lowers inhibitions, which can cause you to do things that you might not be doing if you were in your normal state, like sleeping with a stranger. Remember this before you drink!
- When it comes to sex, be a minimum informed. Let's end with some affirmations that we can sometimes hear about sex.
- "The contraceptive pill protects against STIs": false. It will never protect you from diseases like hepatitis or AIDS.
- "You don't get pregnant during your period": false. It can happen.
- "You don't get pregnant if you're a virgin and sleeping with someone for the first time": false.
- "The contraceptive pill is effective from the first day of taking": false. It must be taken at least a month before for it to fulfill its function.
Step 5. Don't eat alone
Okay, if you like, do it! In his book “Never eat alone”, Keith Ferrazzi puts forward the idea that it is profitable to be part of a group, which can later become a network on which you can rely. Take advantage of your time at college to make connections. The cafeteria or the restaurant-U are suitable places for that.
Part 3 of 3: Take care of your health, safety and finances
Step 1. Eat healthy, get moving, and rest
This trilogy is (or should be) the creed of every student. To be able to cope with all this hectic and busy life and so decisive for the future, you have to take care of your health.
- The diet of a student is identical to that of any adult: lean meat, protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains. Avoid sodas, sweets, industrial dishes, saturated fat! You will feel better and you will avoid crossing the path of what is called in the United States "Freshman 15", this epidemic which affects the first year students (who would gain between 5 and 10 kilos because of the sodas and the " junkfood ').
- Get some exercise. It's a good "drug"! If you move, you will stay fit, fight obesity, lower your cholesterol, fight stress and sleep much better. Join a sports club, swim lengths in the pool, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Otherwise, 30 minutes of brisk walking a day is good exercise.
- Get enough sleep. It is a "sine qua non" condition for memorization and concentration. In fact, we see that students who go to bed late, party or have sleep problems do less well than those who have good sleep hygiene.
Step 2. Do not hesitate to go to the health point of your university
There you meet all kinds of practitioners who will not only treat you, but also give you health information. You will also find brochures there. Some services are free: vaccinations, donation of condoms, advice. It is a place to frequent regularly.
Step 3. If your college has a security service, use it
This service is there for the safety of the students. Its staff is trained and can intervene at several levels.
- He can accompany you to your home if you feel in danger.
- He can give you advice in the event of an assault in your area (especially if you are in town).
- You can point out anything that you think is legal. If you yourself are the victim of theft, rape, physical assault, blackmail, report it either to the campus security service if there is one, or directly to the nearest police station..
Step 4. Make your budget
College is the moment when the child gives way to the adult and as such, you have to start managing your money. To create a monthly budget, estimate your cash flow, then your spending based on past spending. Prioritize yourself, remembering this fundamental principle: expenditure should not exceed income. Here is how we can present a budget (to be adapted according to your profile).
- Money available each month (revenue): 1,300 euros
- Rent: 600 euros
- Food: 250 euros
- Books and school supplies: 100 euros
- Gasoline: 200 euros
- Incidental costs: 150 euros
Step 5. You may be eligible for scholarships
Depending on the country, there are organizations that manage this financial aid: the CROUS in France, the “Apply for federal student aid” (FAFSA) in the United States. They are to be contacted during the last year of high school, it takes time to complete the application and see it accepted. The award criteria are varied (merit, income, etc.). There are aids and it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. There is surely a reception point for this kind of procedure in your university.
Step 6. Think about student jobs
Any student worthy of the name has had or will have a job to make ends meet. You can find places in the private sector (like “Mac jobs”), but be aware that there are also fairly “quiet” student jobs in universities.Inquire! The advantage of working at university is that you can study while working (if your task is not too demanding).
When you are advanced in your studies, it is possible to be paid, in certain subjects, for doing research. This is what the mentor comes in (see above), it is he who will make you join the team, who will persuade his bosses that you are a valid subject. In addition, this experience will appear in your CV
Step 7. If you can, try to save some money
If you have a scholarship, if your parents help you financially and if in the end you manage to save some money, that's good! When you enter the workforce you will be faced with a lot of bills and it is nice to have some cash on hand. This will also allow you to finance studies abroad or avoid the need for a loan. Let’s see this.
- Be aware that it is possible to study abroad, but it is expensive. Very expensive ! Fortunately, for students from the European Union, there is the Erasmus program which allows students to spend a year of study in one of the 28 countries of the Union. Some universities have also forged partnerships with other countries (United States, England, Canada, Australia, etc.). Find out more.
- There are student loans, but they take a long time to pay off. Today, all banks lend to students so that they can pay for their studies. The principle is simple: you repay your loan as soon as you finish your studies, whether or not you have a diploma in your pocket. It's a hell of a load when you start in professional life.
- If you have trouble understanding the lessons, ask for help! Ask a teacher to help you, for example. In some universities and for some courses, first-year students may also be assisted by tutors. These are usually students who have already graduated and who volunteer to help those just entering college. They will be able to help you not only understand your classes, but also organize and adapt to college.
- In general, at the end of each chapter of your books, there are exercises or problems (it depends on the subject, of course!). Try to answer them and, in case of failure, use answers.
- Stay healthy by following these five recommendations: 1) eat a healthy and balanced diet; 2) play sports; 3) relax and be entertained; 4) be optimistic, smile and laugh; 5) get enough sleep.
- Remember who you are, know what you are doing there and why you are there.
- You need to do more than just learn your lessons.
- In class, position yourself well. In general, it is rather in front, there are less possible distractions.
- Check out the topics that have arisen in previous years. Do them and see if you are ready. You will understand the kind of demands the teacher has and who knows! Maybe you will fall on the same subject!
- Avoid revising at the last moment! It may work in the short term, but maybe not in the long term.
- Anticipate and deepen your knowledge. If you know in advance what the topic of the course will be, you can start working on it. Thus, you will better understand the course when the time comes, you will ask the right questions on the points which still seem obscure to you. In short, you will be active!
- Buy your books on the Internet, at second-hand bookstores or from former students. You will save a lot!
- Last minute work and revisions only work for a few who can store and retain a lot of information in a very short period of time. If this is not your case, follow your work schedule and when the partial approaches, make a revision schedule.
- If you are the type who gets distracted easily, try to minimize the temptations to stay focused on your studies!
- Do the best you can. Find a good balance between your studies and your hobbies (and your job if you work part-time).
- Get to know your strengths and weaknesses. It will help you study and later get by in life!
- Everyone is different. There is therefore no one-size-fits-all strategy for succeeding in college even if certain methods are common to those who succeed.
- Don't be afraid to make mistakes and take risks. Just remember, you have to learn from your mistakes!
- All the advice and tips that we have been able to give you here are only guides, ideas. To be successful, it is not enough to follow them to the letter. It's up to you to adapt them to your character and your environment! However, our advice is drawn from experience and the principles we have put forward work for many people.