When starting classes at IU, it is important to know that college is different than high school. You can use the bathroom whenever you want, you can technically show up to class whenever you want. You are now responsible for all of your own studies, and while this may seem daunting at first it is something that makes college so exciting. It is important to make sure that you stay on top of your schoolwork, however, when starting off the school year. There will be many temptations to go out and meet new people and party with your friends and while I encourage this, lets face it - going out and socializing is a massive part of college life, it is important to get a healthy balance between school and social life, after all the main point of college is to be a student and get a degree. And after completing my first year at IU here are a few of my tips to helping you do well inside and outside the lecture hall!
I really can’t stress this enough. Sure its not always required that you attend every single class but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Show up to all of your classes!! For every class you miss that’s anywhere from 50 minutes to 3 hours worth of material that you missed that could be a multitude of questions on a test or concepts that are very important for your class. Also most classes do take attendance and will allow anywhere from a couple absences to NO absences before your grade is deducted. The easiest way to get some of those precious points in a class is by simply showing up.
I know I know you just got a brand new Macbook as a graduation gift and you want to use it but laptops can be a huge distraction during lectures. If you are taking notes during class, you may want to turn the internet off as social networking sites such as facebook and twitter can become very distracting during class. A good idea if you know you’re going to be surfing the internet instead of taking notes is to leave your laptop in your dorm room and just take a simple notebook to class and handwrite all of your notes and then later type them all up. It may seem tedious but it’ll allow you to take your notes without distractions during class and by typing them up you’ll be rereading them and allowing yourself to absorb the information. Just make sure your handwriting is clear!!
I was afraid at first of going to office hours but it really is one of the best things you can do for your academic career. Even though professors may seem scary they are usually really willing to help you do well in their class. They will usually offer advice, help proofread papers,explain tricky concepts, or give you some helpful study hints. Go to office hours, and if you have class during a certain professors’ office hours then email them and ask to meet up, you won’t regret it!
I get it, you could occasionally get away with not studying or doing your homework in high school. College is a little different though and if you think you can just breeze by and get a 4.0 by just attending lectures you may be in for a rude awakening. Your professor may not know whether or not you did the readings but doing those readings will teach you important concepts and material, I know doing the readings may seem optional but they’re really not the professors EXPECT you to do them.
Studying is also important and studying the night before a big test just won’t cut it. Plan to study weeks ahead and split up the material so you aren’t just trying to cram. Form study groups as well as a way to get a new perspective on your material. Also try to study away from distractions, Wells is a great place to study and is open 24 hours a day, the Union is also a great place to study and it’s also open 24 hours a day!