Whether you are a freshman or a senior in college, we could all use a little bit of improvement when it comes to being a better student. The choices we make now can have a profound affect on our future, so instead of making the standard New Year's resolution, let's start thinking about the bigger picture. As I'm sure you are aware, winter break is nearing it's end (screams of agony) which means you have already thought about preparing for the spring semester by getting into proper sleep schedules and organizing your notebooks. Funny right? Most of us haven't even organized our Christmas gifts yet, let alone thinking of organizing for the next five months. But allow me to blow your mind: I am being completely serious. Stop dreading the start of the new semester and get excited about being one semester closer to the end of your college career. It's a new year, a new semester, so why not develop a new "you" in 2017 as well?
Sound Mind, Body, & Health
Believe it or not, we are only a short two weeks away from the start of the Spring semester. One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for this next semester is, well, taking care of yourself. My first suggestion, which you've already probably heard from your mother, is getting into a regular sleeping routine. This means actually getting to bed at a decent time, and yes i'm going to say it, waking up early. And don't say i'm crazy because there are so many great benefits to being an early bird! According to Forbes, college students who identified themselves as "morning people" earned an entire full point higher on their GPAs in comparison to the self proclaimed night owls. Early risers are also more proactive in their daily lives, better at anticipating problems, they are more optimistic, and even get more of a sound sleep.
You definitely don't want to get sick at the beginning of the semester either. You want to save those extra personal skip days for when it's super nice out or when you just don't want to brave the cold. (Okay, i'm not actually telling you to skip school, but let's be realistic). By washing your hands often, taking the proper vitamins, and yes, eating healthy, are all easy ways to avoid getting sick those first few weeks of school when the flu and cold are running rapid. Eating healthy is also important! Instead of running to McDonald's for a quick burger, eat an apple! It costs less, fills you up more, provides sustainable energy, all while supplying you with nutrition and brain food.
Get Your Poop in a Group
Ew, no, not literally! What I really mean is, get all of the crap in your life organized. Take charge of your life! You are an adult now, and this isn't high school. Your mom isn't going to tell you when it's time to go to bed or remind you to get your homework done. You actually have to be responsible for your own life now, and that includes getting good grades. To jumpstart getting your life together, start with some easy at home tasks like cleaning out your closet, washing your bedding, and as much as you may be dreading it, actually getting prepared for school.
If you're like me, you may still have last semester's papers floating around aimlessly in your book bag, left for the dust in the corner of your room. You definitely want to go through that and determine which papers may be useful to look back on and which can be recycled. Take an inventory check of things you may need to purchase before going back to school. Do you have notecards, a notebook and corresponding folder for each class, a planner (yes, planners are still relevant in the age of digital technology)? In fact, this "Off-to-College Checklist" is absolutely fantastic to help determine what you need to bring back to the dorms this year. Then last but not least, if you are able to view which books you need for classes start exhausting all of your purchasing options. There are much more affordable ways to purchase books other than the bookstore. Whether it's Amazon, Chegg, or even a student who has already taken the class (just make sure it's the right book) you can totally save $20 or a few. In fact, most books you can rent from the bookstore, and rent them for even cheaper on Amazon.
Make an Effort to be a Better Student
I am not kidding! This is more than just getting good sleep and eating healthy. Those are just things you should be doing in general just to be a healthier person! I'm talking about making it to class on time and actually getting your a** to class. Also, if you haven't figured it out yet, it's about time to start taking some serious notes. Don't be the kid in the back of the room sleeping during the lecture. Maybe you are that guy! If so you probably already know that he's passing with a C, probably is on the lower end of the GPA scale, while will later resultin a lower paying job. You're grades DO matter. Be the guy in front of the room receiving carpal tunnel from all the notes he's taking, asking questions, challenging himself, and yup, getting better grades. Start avoiding docked points from extensions and incomplete grades like the plague, and instead hand them in early. Start your research paper a week before it's due, rather than the night before it's due. Take the time to study the night before a test. Something as simple as rewriting your handwritten notes can help you receive an entire letter grade better on average. And last, but not least, get to know your teachers. You can even befriend them! They were once in your position so don't be afraid to ask for advice, learn from them outside of the classroom, and use them as a role model. Even if you don't want to be friends with your teachers (totally understandable) the least you can do is be respectable, and put your beset foot forward. After all, with this day in age of digital technology, the world is more interconnected than ever. You never know who your first employer is going to know, it could be your teacher's brother. Even if you follow a few of these simple tasks, you will be reaping the benefits in no time!