Looking back to my freshman year, it is immediately obvious how much the college experience transformed my life for the better in every aspect.
Although most of the metamorphosis occurred unnoticed over time, some of the factors demanded my conscious attention in order to succeed inside of an academic jungle.
Unfortunately, the biggest challenge I had faced during the first year of college was also the main requirement of college success — maintenance of my GPA at a high level. Not that I have ever been a terrible student, but without a doubt, my high school grades did not reflect my academic effort, which, by the way, was non-existent.
Having gotten used to good grades without diligence, the first couple of the college semesters were a wake-up call to begin exerting effort in order to maintain a high academic demand. My sophomore year took an opposite turn to sleepless nights of studying, hours of homework and days of non-stop reading.
Through hard work, I was able to maintain my grades at a high level. However, I had to sacrifice my health, which was not sustainable. During the past year, I was actively developing new ways of achieving academic success while keeping stress levels down and health levels up. It is possible.
First of all, develop a positive attitude toward every class you get enrolled in. Some people may think it’s easier said than done, but in reality, this strategy works well in achieving a high GPA while reducing the sense of burden.
In the beginning of the semester, spend some time analyzing how skills and information offered by a course can expand your opportunities in a future career. The class may seem as needless as it can be, but any information may someday help you connect with a potential employer at a job interview. Even one grade difference can increase your eligibility for more scholarships, how proud your parents would be or your chances to receive a letter of recommendation from a professor, and those things naturally direct your attitude toward the positive side, which in turn increases work ethic.
Secondly, take time to write down due dates of all assignments, tests and such for all of your classes ahead of time. This method proved efficient at helping me stay on track with homework, avoiding last-minute surprises as well as allowing me to spread out the work instead of having to cram the night before the deadline.
Another important factor on the way to academic success is to develop superior levels of time-management. In college, every minute worth of studying increases your chances in receiving a better grade, or simply in having more time for yourself.
I try to work on my homework during 10-minute gaps in between classes or whenever I find half-an-hour worth of interspace. I take my homework even to the gym and review for exams while riding a bike, which also improves the blood flow to the brain and thus helps comprehend information better.
“Even if it’s 20-30 minutes here and there, any downtime is a useful time,” said Virginia Umscheid, nursing major.
Since we have already established that college is a jungle, remember that your chance of survival is more likely within a tribe rather than as a lone survivor. Get a study group of classmates that will push you to achieve greater levels of success. Locate the brightest people in your classes and ask to join them in the library.
As David Carter, Farley Visiting Professor of Ethics and Leadership at Washburn University says: “You can achieve success one of the two ways- through mentors or your own mistakes, but I found it is much easier learning from mentors.”
The power of association will transform you into just as brilliant student as your study buddies are.
“You need to figure out in the first two weeks whether the class requires you to read,” Umscheid said. “If it does, you have to look at the key points at the end of the chapter, find the place in the chapter and read around it, thus you don’t have to read the whole chapter.”
Through personal experience, I have realized the importance of making sure to do exactly what teachers ask in the guidelines and requirements.
In the end, your effort will be rewarded not only with a high GPA, but with self-respect and the feeling of satisfaction.