So next year I will (hopefully lol) be starting University and I am looking for any advice/suggestions/tips that will help me get great grades, make friends, and basically allow me to get more out of my experience. Anything helps, thanks :)
Grades: I just saw a post on here from within the last hour about memorization techniques that work well. I’d look for that post.
Friends: assuming you are a good, nice, loving person, then just be yourself and don’t be afraid to talk to people (I still have trouble with that sometimes). Just try to surround yourself with people that have their heads on straight, and that will accept you for who you are instead of someone you’re trying to project as yourself.
Experience: exactly that! Try as many new things as possible. Take part in school activities that you wouldn’t normally try. Get out of your comfort zone and take life as it comes to ya. Keep an open mind and incorporate love into every little thing you do :)
@henrymcknz, Grades arent all that important. Unless you are trying to get into a grad school, just try to achieve a 3.2-3.6 GPA. Dont procastinate too much, and take a lot of notes in class. Invest in a laptop so you can type these notes. Most of what professors test will come from their notes, not the textbook. I took a few classes where I didnt even buy a textbook.
Make friends.. well just be social I guess. Join clubs? sports teams, talk to people around you in class. Go to bars.
The most important thing about college is networking. network, network, network. Im assuming you are going to college to obtain a career. Well I gotta break it to you, but a college and good grades wont get you the job you are searching for. Talking to people with the same interests, or in the same/similar industry is what helps. Ask them as many questions as you can think. Make them your contacts, and keep in touch with them(while remembering dont just call them for work related questions, become friends with them as well). Put yourself out there, be energetic and work as hard as you possibly can. Prove yourself. College is one hell of a tool that few get to use. Make the most of it.
Sit in the front row and stay a few minutes after class to talk to the instructor. Don’t be rude to instructors. You are paying the faculty to provide you with an education. Some you will hate, and some will influence you for the rest of your life. It was necessary for me to go to school at night and work full time. It took a long time but it was quite an experience. Make the best of whatever your situation!
like everything in life, take it one day, one moment at a time.
I am currently writing a book about this very subject. I am in my last semester of university. Here are a view things off the top of my head:
1)Make eye contact with the prof/instructor while they are lecturing, make it so they are magnetized towards you when they talk. Best tip I got.
2)Learn how you best learn, for me thats 0 to minimum notes in class. In most classes I write nothing. I find it extremely distracting. I haven’t brought my laptop to class in over 3 years. Maybe for you its different-find out. I wrote more about it here: http://coemmunications.com/2013/02/07/3-reasons-i-dont-bring-my-laptop-to-class/
3)Find what you love and the grades will come naturally. I had absolutely terrible grades in my first two years, now I have above average grades. Not cause I’m smarter-its cause I’m now interested in my subject and motivated to learn.
4)Go to your profs office hours even if you have a small question. Most of them sit their bored and will be happy to see you. I didn’t realize this till fourth year. Getting to know them early will do wonders.
As for the friends, they will come. Do all the college things-get drunk, do stupid stuff, experiment. All in moderation, its all part of the process. Reward yourself every so often. The experience will happen, don’t force it. Have fun.
@edwardbernays, I read your blog post in that link, and going off your response here, I have a couple of questions. You first line says lectures are boring; wouldnt NOT taking notes then make you less productive? You also say that minds wander after 7 minutes, which is true for the most part, wouldnt then not taking notes make you day dream and whatnot more? Atleast taking notes makes you focus. Also, if one is to take notes, then wouldnt bringing a laptop be a better way to go? Whenever i took notes and wrote them down, I felt like the entire class I was just trying to keep up on the writing, and in essense missed the entire lecture and retained zero information. But then I started bringing my laptop, and could type up the notes in a few seconds, and focus on the lecture until the next note was posted on the board.
And maybe its different in all universities, but in mine, most of my professors loved students who took notes. Many of my classes, I didnt even need to buy textbooks because the prof. would provide all the test materials through notes and handouts. Hence, if you didnt take notes, you would make it harder on yourself and end up reading 100 pages of 3 chapters, retaining little, and doing bad on the exam. then I fixed my study routine, focused on my notes, studied the 7-8 pages I had(and looking up things I didnt understand in the textbook). This made studying 100% easier for me and maximized my time.
I mean, everyone has different opinions and thats not to say your method doesnt work, hell it probably does work good. But I think the smartest way to approach college is to take notes, always. It keeps you focused in class, and makes studying easier because instead of reading 100 pages of a textbook thats full of info you wont be tested on, read a few pages of notes that the prof. pulls all the test material off of. I had a few prof. tell me that they would never test any class on anything that they didnt provide notes for.
@yoinkie, Ya, as I said every one learns differently. When I go to class, all I do is focus on what the prof is saying and intake that information. Most classes I am utterly fascinated. The prof has my full attention. I don’t find classes boring when I put all my attention into them. Time flies to be honest.
I find people are so focused on writing the shit down that they don’t even know or understand what they are writing. It’s simply copying. For me I go to university to learn, and I learn by listening and then thinking about what I learned after class. My upper years have very few exams so most of those facts are kind of pointless to jot down in the long run anyways. Also, I’m not sure when/where you went to university but in my university most profs put their slides online, so you can just go look at them after. I’ve had profs say no laptops in class. I find that profs prefer you looking at them instead of at a screen-its human nature to want someones attention while talking to them.
Also, I’ve bought maybe 6 books altogether for university (even thats probably an overstatement) and have not read many of them. Most of that 6 comes from my upper year classes because I’m fascinated by the material and so I actually enjoy reading the books.
I’ll agree with you when you say “I think the smartest way to approach college is to take notes, always. It keeps you focused in class” , only because you said it keeps you focused in class. I think thats the key-focus. Your approach is different than mine, but they both get the same end result. I don’t need to “study” because my whole plans different, I listen and retain it (sure I’ll jot down at date here and there) , then later think about it-thus kind of studying all along. Anyways, I guess I should have said experiment with notes and learning patterns. I do think the vast majority of students take notes inefficiently.
Anyways, I take your points as valid and see where you are coming from, thanks for viewing my website by the way!
@henrymcknz , friends will come, especially if you live in residence. when you live with people they almost become like your second family and they’ll always be your friends (as long you keep in touch). as for making friends in the classroom, just try to go to or even organize study groups (for smaller programs anyway, i’m in philosophy), and if your school (we have it at our library, called support learning groups) runs free group tutoring, go to those. it will just naturally come as long as you are friendly and nice to people. in my experience i could turn to any person near me and just have a great conversation. :)
in terms of grades, that’s something you’ll have to figure out on your own. it’s a COMPLETELY different atmosphere compared to high school and teaching styles are completely different. i’d suggest trying different things out, like switching up between laptop notes and hand written to see what you prefer. i find a laptop can be distracting but at the same time very convenient so… it’s really up to you. definitely see the profs–even if you introduce yourself, or ask one question, they learn your name and that WILL help you achieve better grades because they know you!
in general, to get the best experience i would say to be involved as much as possible. there are probably hundreds of student groups/ clubs around that would peak your interest. volunteer for the local hospital even, or be a peer tutor, or join the ‘nerf’ team… anything that interests you! there’s tons of stuff.
i’m in a small, intimate program (philosophy), i’m a highly involved & social student, i don’t have the best grades and i also go to a smaller sized university with an overly friendly atmosphere soo… i could be a bit biased. but you will fit it, it comes naturally!