how to have back to school success!

I’m really glad to be back in school. I’m currently working on my undergraduate degree.  I didn’t have good study habits in high school, and that didn’t serve me well when I did College Part One ten years ago. Therefore, now that I’m older and a bit wiser, I’m trying to train myself to have good study habits. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

  • Actually do the reading homework. (No, really?) Most professors I’ve had expect you to read the material before you come to class.
  • Take good notes. Don’t worry so much about getting every single word, just jot down things quickly that sound important, interesting, or things you need to look up later. If your professor uses a PowerPoint presentation, politely ask if they will make it available to you. A few of mine have, and I like to print them off and use them for taking notes.
    Some of my Astronomy notes.
  • Ask questions in class. Don’t be afraid to ask about something you don’t understand–that’s why you pay tuition, so take full advantage of it. So many of the younger students (at least in my classes) seem to have a problem with asking questions… I think it’s mostly anxiety that they’ll look stupid to their friends. Don’t worry about that… Just ask!
  • Conversely, don’t raise your hand just so you can show off how smart you are (or think you are) and be an asshole. I do not care about your overall GPA or how many honor societies you’re in… I’m too busy passing this class. If you’re not there to learn, please leave so I can. Thanks. (Note: I like honor societies. I don’t like people who prevent others from learning so they can have an ego boost.)
  • Make note cards. This has really helped me prepare for tests, so I can look at material quickly.
  • If all else fails, either find out if your school has a tutoring program, or email your professor and ask questions. Professors are busy people, so respect their time, and don’t wait until the last minute to talk to them. You can ask questions in your email, or ask if they have a little bit of time to meet with you. If they have office hours, try to meet with them then. Some professors are really helpful, and some are busy with research. No matter their response, you should be able to get the help you need through the university you’re at. Again, this is why you pay tuition!
More notes.

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