School is officially back in session, and whether you’re a freshman or a senior, the homework is already starting to pile up. Every year you have plans to keep organized and stay ahead in your school work, but somehow things get out of hand. You find yourself pulling all-nighters more often than not, and spend more time looking for assignments than you do working on them.
This year, follow through with your plans with these tips for being a successful student this year.
With multiple classes and the endless books, papers, and assignments that come with each of them, it’s easy for things to get disorganized really fast. Staying organized is not only important for keeping track of all your school work, it’s important for time management.
There are several ways to help you keep organized and manage your time wisely. First and foremost, take advantage of technology! There are so many apps out there to help you organize everything in your school life, from keeping track of assignment due dates to reminding you of upcoming tests. Google apps are probably your best system for organization, and with many schools running their email service through Google, those apps are ready and waiting for you to take advantage of them. With Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Gmail, you can set up reminders, save and share documents, and so much more to keep you on top of everything school related. And since Google apps can be synced with your smartphone, you can get regular reminders wherever you are.
If you like to kick it old school with pen and paper, then a planner is going to serve you well. When you write something down by hand, there is a better chance of you remembering, so there is still some merit to handwriting. By keeping and writing all of your daily tasks and deadlines, you will more likely remember what you have to do, and if not, you’ll at least have your planner to reference.
One of the biggest things hindering your academic success is distraction, and every college student knows that there are plenty of distracting things around, especially when you are not too keen on doing the work at hand. If you tend to get distracted and can’t focus and on your schoolwork, there are ways that can help you prioritize and maximize your productivity.
One of the best ways to boost your productivity is doing your school work when your mind is most energetic. For those early risers out there, you might get more done if you wake up a couple of hours before your classes to work on things. For the night owls, you probably already arranged your classes so you could sleep in, so use that late evening time to get the bulk of your studying done. Also, go through all of your tasks, see which ones can be completed easily and do those first; accomplishing several small tasks will help put you in a productive mood, and you will be able to focus on the more difficult assignments.
Additionally, make an effort to stay on top of class readings, and even try to get ahead. Last-minute cramming and speed reading of materials is not conducive to retaining information long term, so get readings done ahead of time, and then you can go back and review before important tests.
Take Care of Your Body
Pulling all-nighters is as synonymous with being a college student as liking fish is to cats. With classes, studying, and extracurriculars, sleeping often tends to take a backseat. But constantly being sleep deprived is not only bad for your studies, it’s bad for your health. When you chronically don’t get enough sleep, you can suffer from lowered cognitive functions, brain fog, and forgetfulness, all of which are detrimental to effective learning. Along with effects on the brain, chronic sleep deprivation is also linked to a host of medical problems, such as increased risk for heart problems, diabetes, cancer, and a generally lowered immune system. Knowing all this, you definitely want to start making getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night a priority!
In addition to getting enough sleep, you also want to be sure you’re eating healthily. What you eat every day fuels your body, including your brain, so eating a balanced diet to ensure you have lots of physical and mental energy is important to your success as a student. There are even foods that are said to improve your brain and memory — like fatty fish, nuts, green tea, and even dark chocolate — and incorporating them into your diet may just give you a little extra boost in the studying department.
Hopefully with the help of these these tips, you can make this year your most successful academic year to date. Do you have any advice for student success? Let us know in the comments!
Mila Sanchez is a writer and recent graduate with a BA in English Linguistics. Her ambitions include traveling the world, studying languages, and taking pictures of her dog, Baymax. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram!