As we are only 13 days away from graduation, I thought it would be fun to pass on some university life knowledge that might be helpful for our readers, or students that they know. As I am about to finish my second degree and, hopefully, add another certification to my resume, I guess one could say I have picked up a few tips in academia. So, here are my three tips for keeping your cool in school (pun intended).
#3: Never Underestimate the Power of Sleep
For all of you more experienced readers, I am sure you are shaking your head because I am suggesting getting more sleep and skipping class – yes and no. While I am a morning person, and a firm believer in not wasting the day, I have also learned the hard way that not getting enough sleep or rest is physically damaging and can only be maintained for so long.
We have all heard that a solid eight hours is recommended especially the younger you are. I have learned on several occasions that I need at least seven hours, if not eight. However, anything less than seven is really pushing it – especially if I maintain that for several days. It is important to figure out your threshold for sleep early on in college, because things only get busier after Freshman year. Also, when you are scheduling your classes, flight labs, or work hours, be aware of when you do your best work. For instance, I know that I am a morning person, so I would rather be at work at 0730 than going into an eight hour shift at 2pm. The great thing is you have a lot of control over your schedule in college, so use that to your advantage, because after graduation you are there when the boss says, regardless of how little you slept.
#2: Schedule Time for Fun
I learned in college that people had very definite ideas of what “fun” was and it was not the same for each person. Do not worry if your idea of fun is a book versus your roommate’s plans to have a party in your dorm room. If you want to spend your free time introverting, or working out, that is OK.
You will find that there will be pressure to do this and that in during your free time (in fact, that is when the fun things seem to always happen). If you are an extrovert, go hang out with your friends – play basketball, see a movie, etc. If you are an introvert, it is OK to sit in your room to unwind. I am an introvert and sometimes it is difficult to explain to others that after being around people all day, I do not want to be around people.
However, do not just introvert your life away. If you can get out for a movie, or dinner, or coffee, do that! It is important to rest and recharge and sometimes all it takes is a few hours away from your room or apartment or house (or roommates).
#1: Build Good Habits Now
This a fairly open-ended tip, so I will just cover a few good habits to have that will benefit you for years post-graduation.
Learning to write well is a good habit I have carried with me since high school. I remember my parents urging me to write about one of my experiences when volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and 10 years later, it is one of the most important habits I have. It is also shocking to learn from Seniors that expecting them to write like Seniors in a Senior-level class is an “unrealistic” expectation – if you want to argue with me on this one, I can argue every way until Monday that learning to write well is one of the most important skills and habits a young adult should have.
Learning to schedule your time wisely is something you will take with you for a lifetime. I cannot count how many times people have been surprised and astonished when they see the calendar in my binder, or my day planner. Truth be told, I have about four different calendars, which may be overload, but it helps me remember everything. You do not have to be that organized by any means, but just having a place to put down every activity and knowing when that activity will occur will help you make good use of your time.
Put in the effort now, so you can enjoy your free time later. My parents always stress doing a job well and putting in the effort to produce excellence. I cannot tell you how many students comment that “Cs get degrees” or that no employer will ever look at your Grade Point Average (GPA). Wrong! Your first few jobs after graduation you won’t have quite enough experience to take your GPA off your resume and it is a good indicator of how hard you worked in college. Building the habit of putting in the effort to learn and do well translates into life after college in more ways than one. Hard work is how people get promoted, get job offers, and get the jobs they really want.
Now, if you are thinking that I have just handed you the comprehensive checklist to university success, think again! Just take all I say with a grain of salt and realize what works for me will not always work for you. However, I think these tips are generic and easily scalable to your daily lives.
My last piece of advice for this week is to develop these good habits and to find your student/work/life balance – honestly, that might take a lifetime to achieve.
Images courtesy of Google.com.