I talk a lot about trapping out and laying pipe on campus, but it’s been a while since I’ve covered a bit of the more essential side of college: class. Your studies are important and getting good grades even more so.
While I do know a thing or two about getting it done in the classroom, I’m no Oxford scholar by any means. I carry a meaty 3.4 GPA which I’m completely satisfied with. I’ve run absolute trains on classes, and I’ve bombed a few, but the majority of the time I manage to scrape a pleasant A or B to keep my future bright and parents happy.
While the social aspect of college is easily the most enjoyable, the academic aspect cannot be ignored. The people who party their freshman year away and neglect putting any effort into their studies are doomed to having their campus career cut short. If you get shit grades and fail every class, most universities WILL place you on academic probation, with another semester/year of fucking up resulting in your expulsion. You know what this means? That you need to start ALL OVER AGAIN at a different school, sans the $20-40 thousand that you or your parents already spent on the education.
College is fun, but there comes a certain age where being an undergrad stops being cool and becomes flat out creepy. You can only put off the real world for so long, so you might as well get your shit done, do it well, and enjoy your time while doing it.
KEEP A PLANNER
I cover this in MY BOOK because it’s literally that important.
A cornerstone of success anywhere is being well organized and practicing efficiency. College is not the least bit exempt, and if anything requires MORE organization on your part. If you think you can remember every due date and minor detail about every quiz, project, exam etc. and just play everything by ear you’re gonna have a bad time.
Whenever a new class deadline pops up, regardless of its nature, write down exactly what it is and when it’s due. If it’s short term, such as an online quiz or take home assignment, write down the due date AND a note on what day you will do it. If it’s more long term (future test, group project, etc.) write down the due date, the halfway point, and checkpoint days stating how far along you should be with the project at that point in time.
Remember, it’s not enough just to write this stuff down and overlook it when the date comes; you HAVE to discipline yourself into adhering to the schedule. It’s tough at first, since nobody is forcing you to start your paper two weeks early when you could just as easily sit down and play FIFA all night. However, once you get into the rhythm of executing all the shit you have personally laid out, it will become difficult for you NOT to do it. Not only this, but once you check off the last thing on your list every day, you feel a small sense of accomplishment and are then free to pursue the leisure activity of your choice for the rest of the evening.
Doing this properly and adhering to what you have written is the best way to both avoid cramming and helping you retain the information you are learning. Sure, you can cram 14 hours through the night for your huge chem exam that you have the next day, but you will be tired and still less versed int he material than you would be if you had spread your study out over the course of 10-15 days.
University sponsored planners are usually free or available for very cheap at the campus store. If you don’t have one yet, go as soon as possible. You’ll be amazed at the increase in productivity and decrease in stress it will help you obtain.
DON’T SKIP CLASS UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
My fraternity house dad told me something sophomore year that has yet to fail me personally, “go to every single class and you’ll never get less than a C”. This holds true for multiple valid reasons.
First and most importantly, going to class helps in actually learning the material. You’re gonna be tested on this stuff sooner or later, you might as well do everything in your power to go to where it’s being taught at a fundamental level instead of slaving over the textbook for hours before the test. You’ll pick up on what you will be tested on, every due date, and even extra credit opportunities should they arise. Lots of people like to skip the first class after a major exam, and I’ve had multiple professors award a few bonus points for the people who decided to actually show up.
Second, regular attendance creates sense of value and pride in the class itself. The more you show up, the more you interact with the professor, the higher your subconscious drive will be to do well. You don’t want all those hours spent in the classroom to be for granted, so naturally you will be inclined to study harder and perform more thoroughly on homework assignments. It’s a mental thing.
There WILL be days where you just want to roll over and go back to sleep once your alarm goes off. Or maybe you just had a big test and the next one isn’t for four weeks, so you think skipping one class can’t hurt. Even days where you’re so viciously hung over you feel like leaving your bed would certainly mean imminent death.
You need to fight these. Getting up, getting dressed and grabbing your backpack will almost always result in you trudging on through the door and heading off to class. Sure, if it turns out you’ve come down with something nasty and are projectile vomiting all over your room, then it’s probably best you stay home and rest for a while. Just make sure to keep your excuses to a minimum, and make it a routine to get your ass to class every day.
GET TO KNOW A FEW PEOPLE IN YOUR CLASS
This helps much more than you might think. I have a highly consistent track record of doing better in classes that I had friends in, or in which I befriended 1-2 new people.
If you miss a class due to any various circumstances, you can text them and ask if you missed anything important. If you feel you might have forgotten a certain deadline, same deal. If you have online quizzes, as a lot of classes do these days, you can work together and get them done in a fraction of the time.
When it comes to exams, study groups are a gigantic help. This is why it’s normally a good idea to get to know a girl (preferably in a sorority) because girls have a nice habit of being excellent study buddies. They will often have thorough as fuck notes, make study flash cards, or even have other friends who already took the class.
Having points of contact for every class so you can get info at a moments notice and not have to wait for a professor’s email is so useful it’s unreal.
GET IN TIGHT WITH YOUR PROFESSOR
I’ve covered this pretty thoroughly in an EARLIER POST and it still holds true. Getting in tight on both a personal and professional level with every professor is a surefire way to get yourself hella perks.
Grade rounding, extra credit, make up points on exams, and leniency on a few homework due dates are all little things I have received in the past to round off the class nicely and get the grade I wanted. Not only this, but being well networked within your major is an outstanding way to get letters of recommendation and good words to other teachers on your behalf.
It takes time, swagger and some work, but nothing beats getting close with your professor.
READ MORE: How to Build a Reputation on Campus
DON’T WASTE THE BEST FOUR YEARS OF YOUR LIFE: Go Here