College is an exciting time of life. You’re embarking on serious independence and finding out more about the world and what part you want to take in it. Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors will tell you, those habits you develop during your Freshman year can really shape your college years, and your college years will shape the rest of your life. Here are four ways to develop proactive college habits that will deliver dividends.
1. Just say no….to procrastination
It’s the number one adversary to success in college. That little voice that keeps saying, I’ll just do it later. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll see if I can get away with not doing it at all. Time management is crucial in college and necessary in the work world after college. Decide not to procrastinate. Sounds impossible? One of the best and most practical ways to avoid procrastination is to set up a study schedule that you commit to follow. Get a planner and put study time on your calendar. In doing this, choices become easier to make down the road.
2. Love it or leave it
If you don’t love what you’re studying, you’re much less likely to put in the hours and sweat that it takes to develop a successful future while at college. Instead of choosing something based on what your parents and friends think you’d be good at doing, find the thing that makes you excited. If you find yourself doing extra research in a class because you’re just curious, you might have identified the right tree for barking up. If you’re naturally interested, you’ll be naturally more successful.
3. Balance, balance, balance
The old saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, has something to it. If you’re not giving yourself a break from your studies, you’re going to burn out. This is not to suggest that you find some all-night parties to break up your homework schedule, but that you plan for breaks in the short term and in the long term. Take time to have lunch with a friend. Study a little more on Friday so you can make that dinner party on Saturday. Keep focused but allow your mind to take the breathing space it needs to be the most effective.
4. Study groups can save you
Always considered yourself a lone wolf when it comes to studying? College could change your mind. Finding that great combination of fellow students who compliment your skills can be life-saving in college. Even if you feel confident in all aspects of a course, finding a community of students who are in the same boat can often be the encouragement you need to keep studying. Likewise, sharing a pizza with friends while studying for a Psych quiz makes passing up parties more bearable.
5. De-stressing is crucial
Finding healthy ways to cope with stress will be crucial in college. Instead of finding an outlet in wild weekend parties, turning to the gym and to a healthy diet will serve you best if success is your goal in college. Cardio or yoga can be great stress relievers that will calm your mind, pump you full of endorphins and make you feel ready for the mental focus you need to stay on top of it all.
Enjoy your independence in college and make sure that you start early to find good habits that will mean eventual career and family success.
Brie Rabdeau writes for higher education blogs nationwide. She recommends www.topcollegesonline.org as a great resource for students interested in finding more information on college rankings.