How to: Do Well in College (Undergraduate Edition)

College is…something. I feel uncomfortable using a specific adjective because if I say college is hard, you won’t want to come, but if  I say it’s great, that might be hyping it too much. If I say it’s necessary, that’s not even true. For a lot of people though, college is something that we’re expected to do, and can be a very useful tool in helping you navigate a career. College is also a good time and place for you to learn how to handle stress, how to treat people, and how to transition into adulthood. I don’t want to say college is hard, but sometimes, it can be, so I’m here to help you survive, or even thrive.

Lighten Your Class Load


Your adviser, teachers, and parents will expect you to take at LEAST five classes per semester, and sure, if you take 5 classes per semester for 8 semesters, you should have your degree. You may also lose your mind, ability to work, and you may totally burn out. Taking 5 classes per semester if you plan to do anything other than school work is a bad idea, and some people can handle it, but most people just can’t. Instead, if you take 4 classes in the fall and spring semesters, plus 2 in the summer, you’ll have your 10 classes per year (which is what you’d have if you subjected yourself to 5 classes per semester and took summers off).

Balance Your Semesters


Each semester, if you’re taking 4 classes, it’s best to split up the classes so that you don’t have 4 difficult classes one semester or 4 easy classes one semester. The easiest way to split up your classes is to find out what’s required of you, and try to register for 2 easy-medium classes and 2 medium-difficult classes each semester, that way you have 2 classes in which it’ll be easier to do well while you focus most of your energy on the 2 more difficult courses.

Keep it Together


Many students think they’ll be able to remember all of their assignments and due dates without keeping a written record of anything. This is dumb and often disastrous. Keep a written record of all of your assignments and due dates so you don’t miss anything.

Make Time for Work and Play


If you know that you’ll have 3 hours of homework or studying every day, then you should make a specific “study hour” where you put your phone/internet/other recreation away and work solely on your school work. Then, map out an hour or two of solely recreation time, where you nap, play video games, scroll through Tumblr, etc.


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