Tips From a Senior on Surviving School
As we all know, college can be challenging. From completing assignments to attending extracurricular activities, there are so many things to juggle. As a graduating senior, I wish I knew the things I now know during my first few semesters at Clemson. I have compiled a few tips below to help you navigate the balancing act that is college. Some of these are personal and may not work for everyone, but hopefully something in here can help you make the most out of your education!
1. Use an Agenda
It took me years of college to finally get an agenda, and it has been a game changer. Having my entire semester written out allows me to stay on top of things and not have to mentally juggle so much information in my head all the time. It relieves stress to get the information out of my head and onto the page, kind of like journaling in a way. I know this tip is simple, but I can’t imagine school without it now.
2. Homework schedule
This one is tougher than having an agenda. For me, I’m most happy, productive and stress-free when I’m doing my homework two days before it is due. For example, if I have a 40-page reading due for a Wednesday discussion, I’ll ideally have the reading done by Monday. There’s a few really awesome things about this. First off, it opens up my schedule tremendously and never leaves me scrambling. Having a buffer day allows me to be more flexible with my time if I have something unexpected come up! Second, it keeps me productive and on top of my schedule, because I genuinely have to plan ahead.
3. Reading, reading, reading
Although it can be really hard to do, I’d recommend doing every reading you can in school. Trust me, as an English major, I understand how daunting it can be. Let me explain a bit about my school philosophy and reframe how reading works for us. To me, school is not about the work — it is about the growth. You’re learning how to get your work done, developing an understanding of new material and embracing education as an experience, and that will always be more important than the actual work. College should teach you how to learn. There are a lot of ways to go about that, but to me, reading is the easiest and most effective way. Do your best to read everything you can, and hopefully by doing so, you’ll begin to transform your thoughts about education into a growth mentality as opposed to a “finish this assignment” mentality.
4. Take some breaks
Try and give yourself breaks, even if it is a half hour to relax. You will not do yourself, your work or your professors any favors by wearing yourself down. Watch some TV, hang out outside or even head back home for a weekend. Some time off can do wonders for your work and your mood. Take a few breaths when you need to, and try to enjoy learning as best as you can.
Ultimately, here’s my philosophy: if you make college about the work, the work will stay in college. However, reframing college as a growing stage in your pathway forward will let you take your college experience with you wherever you go. The only way to really begin to grow is by doing the work, and that’s why the tips above have been essential for myself and maybe for you as well.
Written By: Will Gordon