#36 The Musts of Adapting to College (Mostly) Stress-Free 

Attending college is often described as a pivotal point in your life. It helps you discover the type of person you truly are and puts you on a career path for the rest of your life. Some of you are no longer living at home and sharing responsibilities with other people. Instead, you are an independent person directly responsible for every decision you make throughout your day.

Oftentimes students, including me, come to college and don’t realize the amount of work you have to do outside of academics. Simple tasks like making sure you eat healthy, exercise, and stay hygienic often slip past us. 

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So, how do you make sure that you are succeeding as a student while also succeeding as a person? The first thing is staying organized, and I don’t mean knowing where all of your belongings are—although that helps! When I was a high school student, I never saw the point of a daily planner or agenda book. They seemed almost pointless to me, a waste of space in my backpack. But now, I often say it’s the most important thing I have. With classes, homework, tests, clubs, and chores, it’s almost impossible to succeed at all your tasks for a semester without missing at least one important task. With a planner, not only do you maximize your time by having a plan for the day, but you’re able to look ahead and never miss anything you need to get done. It makes you look more mature and successful to others—and you’ll feel that way, too.

First-years tend to focus on—and stress about—taking college courses. Not knowing what they are like can be intimidating. Walking into my first classes ever at Arcadia was the same for me. As I sat down in the basement of Boyer Hall, my Chemistry professor explained what we needed to do to succeed. He said that every single day, you should study at least an hour for each class. Taking four classes, that adds up to 28 hours a week of just the minimum! So, is this true?

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From my experience taking classes and experimenting with different ways to study, I have devised a work schedule that maximizes my time. These strategies might not work for everyone, so take this with a grain of salt. The first thing that I do is read the textbook and take notes before the lecture. In college, the material is explained by the professor, but it is a fast pass that doesn’t always allow you to grasp a complete understanding of it. Reading the material beforehand allows you to understand what’s being presented and focus more on what the professor is saying instead of trying to write down everything. I find that doing this allows me to ask more questions, which leads to a better understanding of the material as well as keeps me on track for exams.

Next, I write index cards on all the information before exams. My peers consider this “old-fashioned” and question its effectiveness, but I have found writing index cards helps me retain information faster than typing it on a computer. You never have to worry about computer or internet issues, which will occur from time to time.