After receiving that college acceptance, we look forward to moving away from home, making new friends, and getting to party without our parents’ permission. We get to live freely for four years and then get our dream career after. Freshman year can feel like a rude awakening for those who take a minute to understand you don’t just “get” your dream career. With all the fun that comes with college, we must put in hours and hours of work to accomplish our goals. Is it possible to have fun and get good grades at the same time?
Read on to find out how to get good grades without your friends thinking you abandoned them.
1. Map Out Your Time Wisely
Academically thriving has all to do with the effort you put in. Obviously when taking challenging classes including chemistry or engineering, you may require more effort than necessary in other courses just to pass. The key to success? Use your time efficiently and make the most of every minute. College costs—big time. Why would I be paying out-of-state tuition to do work in my dorm room when I could easily do it in my bed at home at a much less costly price? Once we decide what matters to us, we’ll understand what we should be focusing on. “The best way to draw a line between school and your friends is learning when to say no. No matter how bad you’d rather hang out with your friends than spend the night in the library, you have to make sure your priorities are in check,” freshman at the University of Florida Madeline Wells said. If you have work to get done, get it done.
Aim to get the most out of each day. I find it productive to take advantage of Sundays. Unless you have another obligation, you will most likely be torn between the library and Netflix. Get a few good hours of studying in to start the week off on the right foot. Realize the importance of an off day every now and then. If you decide to work on Sundays, take Saturday to chill out, catch up on sleep and socialize. When you’ve worked efficiently all throughout the week, allow yourself to take the weekend off. The majority of us only have four years at college, so it comes down to how you spend each minute of your day. The individual student decides how to make the most of the time you have here. Why waste a single second when you can find a world of opportunity right outside your dorm room?
2. Stay Organized
I find it stress-relieving to make a list of my outlying assignments and then crossing them off. Purchase a planner or even just take advantage of the Canvas calendar. Make sure to keep your syllabi on hand. In case you missed it, write all of your deadlines and exams in there. When you are overwhelmed about your busy schedule, you won’t complete your tasks to the best of your ability. After sorting out your brain, sort out your bedroom. Living in a clean space gives you one less thing to worry about. Always keep yourself and your laptop charged, as well as carry around chargers when you won’t be around for the day. Nothing puts you in a worse mood then opening up your computer at the library just to see that it died.
3. Surround Yourself With Hardworking People
Although I would love to spend my sunny days at the pool, I enjoy staring at the palm trees from the windows at Marston Science Library. Don’t let the laziness of others stop you from accomplishing your goals. If you surround yourself with hardworking people, you may get to socialize while studying and make a day out of going to the library with your friends. As long as you encourage each other to do work and don’t interrupt anyone’s concentration, you won’t feel guilty about ditching your friends to study. However, the library scene may not work for everyone. “People would always joke about going to “club lib” but I found this to be so distracting. I would find a nice quiet place to study so I did not waste any time with being distracted. When it was time to study, I would lock myself away and use every minute of that time effectively,” graduate student and general psychology professor at the University of Florida Carly Logan said. You don’t have to compete with your friends over who has the best grades, but you might find yourself inspired to work harder if the people who are close to you continue to as well.
4. Maintain a Balance
As college students, we struggle to keep an equilibrium between our social lives and our grades. Hiding away from everyone all the time to complete assignments can be harmful to your mental health. “No one wants to hire someone who cannot communicate with others. But no one wants to hire someone who is great with people and did not learn information throughout college courses,” Logan said. We find ourselves repeatedly asking the questions: I have an exam this week but all of my friends are hanging out. Can I afford to take a study break for a few hours and see them, or will that essentially mean just watching my grade plummet? When you put it into perspective, decide for yourself if that extra hour or two of studying makes that great of a difference. If you study all day, schoolwork shouldn’t be a reason not to do something fun at night. You won’t have the drive to complete any work if your sit around doing nothing most of the time. Being fortunate enough to attend such a highly ranked public university, you must work to take advantage of everything the school has to offer. Whether it be the top notch professors, thousands of student organizations or the university community, you don’t want to have any regrets on graduation day.
5. Take a Break from the Stress
Going out with friends allows you take a break from the stress, but then once you leave you find yourself more willing to get back on the grind. “Being in a sorority there is never a night that there isn’t something going on. You also need to learn that if you’re ahead of your work and feeling prepared, there is no shame in taking a night or two off,” Wells said. If you constantly worry about outstanding work, you won’t have the ability to enjoy a social life. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break. You deserve it every now and then. “I spent a lot of my first two years in college saying no to dinners out or nights with friends so I could study, but looking back I think I would have been more productive if I had just said yes and taken a break from my schoolwork.” senior at the University of Florida Rory Medley said. It gets unhealthy if you drown yourself in work all hours of the day; you deserve to enjoy yourself and your time in college.