Wednesday, August 6, 2014

College Help: Tips to get you through your first semester

When it came to my first semester of college I was terrified, I thought I was going to get lost, get over my head, or worst even drop out. 

But, I made it, I'm getting ready to start my 6th semester of college and I've learned a lot about how to stay organized, stay calm, and get a 3.8 GPA! 

So what are my tips well…

1. Go check out the school you'll be going to. Whether that be a tour, or just going to walk around on open house. Getting to see where all your classes are will help calm your nervous.
-If the school website offers a map print it out and use that (when I go to my university I'll probably do that) 

2. Invest in a good backpack, you'll be carrying a lot around and you don't want your back to be hurting. This site is a great place to hunt down the perfect backpack for you. 

3. Get a laptop or tablet, I can't begin to tell you how important this is. Some colleges do have computer rooms but not all are always available. Heck some even let you rent a laptop or tablet for the semester. Buying a laptop or tablet really depends on the your personal perspective. I use this one and I love it. 

4. Always have your computer set up with the right software such as 
    a. Microsoft Word  this lets you make PowerPoint, word documents, and excel all that you'll need for    college classes 
    b. At least two kind of search engines (safari, Google chrome, etc) I don't no if this will work for none Mac computers, but I say this because some of my power points and word documents wouldn't open on certain search engines. 
    c. Evernote this has been a life saver for me in college. I can scan my notes into my computer into my Evernote account and search my notes. Yes, you read right search my notes. It's incredible. Also I just got a email this morning, saying you can buy a pen to write with on your iPad/iPhone and it syncs to your Evernote account. I'm thinking save some trees and go this direction.  
5. Get a good planner one that has everything you need. These are really good one 
  • PlumPaperDesign Here you can pick your front cover, add your name and whether you want the classes inserted in or blank. This is my personal planner and I love it each class has it's own box and it's so organized.
  • I love this design so much 
    This is what the blank classes look like I do recommend this because college classes change every semester.

  • Erin Condren Life Planner a little on the expensive side but well worth it. The only reason I picked the PlumPaper was because of the classes. But Erin Condren Planners have a pencil couch, stickers and really awesome accessories. 
  • Target also has really cute planners 
6. My favorite part school supplies, in college its really all about how organized you are. Now I know everyone has their own way of doing things, but this is the way I've found works well for me. 
  • Have a separate notebook for every class (I am actually combining two classes in a 5 subject notebook this semester) I like this method because I no all my notes/ homework are in one place. 
  • Have a "Home" for everything. I use Flex fives star folders (I recommend the 2 inch one) they have individual pockets. I use my label maker and each class has their own tab so now I have a place for Homework, Important and just to store all that extra paperwork. 

  • Use something to hold all your pencils and post it etc. I use this and love it, its holds all my things post it, pens, white out, stapler, pens, pencils. 

  • But I also found in a YouTube video that, you buy this and put it throw the flex folder (the rings open up) and store everything here. I myself am going to try this, this semester and see how much I like it. 

  • Have something to store everything in after the semester is over. I use three ring binders and have them organized into subject, but I'm getting close to ten of those. So I'll probably go to a normal plastic bin.
  • Find a good pen to take notes with I use two
I love these pens. The Bic one has four colors light colors the other one has dark colors. I love these because it's easier to change up your color coding when taking notes.
The Sharpie pens write amazing there smooth and don't bleed through the paper. I honestly can say the Sharpie pens are my favorite.

  • The best notebooks are the five star ones I can't find a better one. 
7. The number one thing every college student needs to master is, Note Taking Skills  This part is very important because it's how you study (most of the time). My tips are mainly to write with good hand writing, use color coding, highlighters, and use the Cornell system it just has a good layout to find things later.
*Honestly every class I take notes differently: If they have notes up on the board I write in the Cornell, if its just lecture I literally just write and hope to stay caught up, or I read the chapter ahead of time and t write my own notes (in the Cornell) and when I get to class I add to the notes as the teacher talks. The read chapter before has really worked for me.

8. Now, for the most important things I could share with you as a first time college student is simply.

  1. Don't stress- there is simply no reason to (I no its easier said then done) but if you take good notes study at least 45 minutes a day prier to the big test you'll be fine.
  2. DON'T CRAM: Your in college, therefore; everything you're reading/ studying will come back to help you. Especially if it's your major class. Actually study what your reading. 
  3. Get a tutor. I plan on getting one this semester because I'm going into a harder math class and I HATE MATH!   
  4. Keep everything I no seems a little over board but it really does help. I've gone and looked at my old papers to help me remember the layout. I've even used my old assignments to help me with others. 
  5. Keep your major classes, I'm a elementary education major so all of my elementary classes I've kept everything. 
  6. Take time in-between studying. Don't just study for a solid hour without a break you'll probably burn yourself out and you still have another five hours of studying to do. What I do is study for about 45 minute then get up and walk around.
  7. Don't get on social site, YouTube, or Pinterest in-between your breaks you'll get side tracked and forget to study. 
  8. Be organized.
  9. Have a certain spot to study, my first semester I studied on my bed and it was a bad decision. At night I couldn't go to sleep, my mind was constantly running. So I bought a desk and now I sleep way better because my bed is for sleeping not for studying.
  10. You'll change your mind, not even kidding. When you get to college some people know what their going for others not at all. So if you get two semester or even years in and change your mind, that's fine change it. It's whats best for you. I was going to college for Physical Therapy then I got one semester in and changed my major to Elementary Education. I can tell you I'm a lot happier with my decision to change and my family thought it was a better choice also. Update: I've actually changed my major again, I'm doing child psychology. And I'm really excited. But I'm one semester away from graduating with my associates in teaching so I'm cramming my last semester and I'll be graduating with two associate degrees in May 2015. I'M VERY EXCITED! 

Well, I hope my advice helps I'm not an expert at all but I have had my share of college struggles. So keep your head up, study hard and make some friends. 

Have extra advice then leave a comment. 

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