College life is a constant juggling act. You’re studying, taking part in clubs, working, and socialising. Sometimes it can feel like you don’t even have time to breathe. There is a way to do all of these things and keep going, though. Follow these seven tips to get the most out of college without heading for burnout. This should be the best time of your life, and following this advice can help you achieve academic success as well as full and active social life.
Study smarter, not harder.
A lot of students decide that effective studying equals long hours spent in the library, poring away at the books. They’ve made the mistake of thinking that the longer you study, the more you take in. In fact, the opposite can be true. Spend long enough studying without breaks, and you aren’t going to take anything in. Go for a walk and get away from the books. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to learn.
Psychology experts also confirm that the phenomenon of studying smarter, not harder improves the amount of knowledge you retain, and your ability to apply it. They advise the following tips for really putting this concept into practice:
• Once you’ve studied something, give yourself a couple of hours, a few days, or even a whole week before you re-study it. This is known as ‘spacing’ and strengthens your memory.
• Test yourself – on all subjects, not just scientific ones where it’s easy to use flashcards.
These two methods on how to study harder leave you with a better memory, and a way to identify and remedy gaps in your knowledge, so should be implemented during all study periods.
Ask for help when you need it
It is college, you need to learn to manage on your own, right? True, but learning that actually means knowing when to ask for help. If you’re struggling with your work, talk to a professor. If your mental or physical health is declining, go to the health centre. Those who can ask for help can get back on track, and succeed, much more quickly. Admitting that we’re struggling during college is extremely tough. It may seem like everyone else is flourishing, when the truth is that this is a difficult transition for everyone, and you are not alone in the struggle. However, if you’re still uncomfortable in coming forward and talking about problems, there are many anonymous services such as ULifeline. Anonymous services offer you the chance to be heard, and helped, but without the feeling of vulnerability that comes from opening up to someone you know or see regularly.
Manage your schedule
It’s tempting to stuff your schedule full of exciting things, and you should experience new things while you’re at college. Remember though, there’s only 24 hours in a day. If you try to cram too many things in, you’ll burn out much more quickly. Instead, take your time. You’ve got years at college, don’t worry about fitting everything in. Your main priority at college should be your studies – it is a higher education institute after all. Give classes a couple of weeks, and then realistically assess how much free time you have and decide on your priorities, whether they’re sports, socializing, music, or any other college opportunities.
Slow down if you need to
Need a break? Take it. Step off the soccer team for a while, or put a hold on tutoring. You can’t help anyone when you’re overworked. You’ll feel much better when you come back to it. You may hear the phrase ‘burnout’ being casually thrown around campus, however don’t be fooled – this is a serious issue for many young college students. It’s a state of mental and physical exhaustion, that can have a negative affect on your grades, your relationships, and your mental health. Many articles and studies are listing burnout as one of the top ten reasons students drop out of school – so when you feel overwhelmed, overworked, and overtired, give yourself a break. Take days off from any extra-curricular that you do and allow yourself time to feel stronger again. This isn’t a weakness – recognizing that you need to help yourself is a strength.
Use online tools
There are lots of online tools that make essay writing and general college life much easier on you. Try these tools the next time you’re struggling to get writing:
• Writemonkey: Struggle to write without getting distracted? This writing tool is a stripped down, simple tool, that lets you get on with the job at hand.
• Easy Word Count: You’re given word counts in your assignments for a reason, to keep you on track. This tool will give you an accurate word count when you need it.
• Wunderlist: This app is the best to do list app out there. You can make personal lists, or create shared ones. They’re great when planning group projects.
• Boomessays: Sometimes, you need someone to give your essay that final once over. This writing service can look at it with an experienced eye before you hand it in.
• iStudiez Pro: This organisation app will help you get yourself organised. Create schedules for work and school, and keep track of your accomplishments.
• RefME: This tool is a lifesaver for citing your sources. Scan the book’s barcode into your phone, and it will create an instant citation for you.
Be able to say no
There are lots of opportunities at college, and you want to say yes and please everyone. However, it’s just not possible to fit it all in. Say no once in a while, and your tired brain will thank you. Everyone needs a day curled up in front of Netflix every once in a while. While it’s easy to become giddy with excitement at the societies fair, and suddenly realize you have a dozen passions, when you really think about it, you know who you are, what you like, and what societies and activities are for you. Stay true to who you are, and remember that it’s OK to say no.
It sounds obvious, but many students don’t eat well when they come to college. Eating junk all day every day means you’ll feel ill, and won’t be up to all the cool stuff that’s out there. Make sure to keep fruit and vegetables in your diet, and slow down on the fast food. Make sure you drink enough water during the day, too. While ramen may be the cheapest thing in the store, and not grow mould even after a couple of weeks, your brain works better with a good diet. Scientists have confirmed time and again that fish, fruits, vegetables, and even coconut oil can boost your brain. So give yourself the best odds at succeeding in college by eating as well as you can.
These tips and tools should help you get the right balance while you’re at college. Of course you want to do everything, but you need to listen to your body first. Taking it slow from time to time will help you get the most out of the college experience.
About the Author: Gloria Kopp
Gloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a creative writer, now she works as a blog editor at Essayroo. She is also is a regular contributor to such websites as Studydemic, Bigassignments, HuffingtonPost, Engadget, etc.