College is a time of major growth for most folks. Not only are you growing in knowledge, but you are also establishing the friendship and problem-solving skills that will last throughout your lifetime.
So, for better or for worse, the habits you form in college could have a lasting impact on your long-term success.
Of course, forming productive habits is sometimes easier said than done. In fact, to foster any of these following 7 habits of a successful college student, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to intentionally utilize them a day-to-day basis.
Regardless of whether you’re about to start a new semester or you’re in the midst of finals season, you can begin to work these proven habits into your daily routine.
If you do, then you will begin to see more success not just in the classroom, but also in your general ability to relish every moment of your time at university.
Habits of Successful College Students
Keep Your Goals Front And Center
Often, while in the trenches of college life, it is easy for a student like you to lose sight of why they pursued college in the first place.
Maybe you’re looking to one day start your own business or earn a certification that allows you to fulfill your dream of teaching. Either way, you need to keep your vision of success at the forefront when the going gets tough.
In this way, your goals can serve as a fuel that helps energize you through an academic challenge.
If you imagine every paper you write and every exam you take as steppingstone towards your goal, you’ll be more able to take them in stride and give them the attention they deserve.
In short, know what future success looks like for you and use that vision to guide your collegiate actions each day.
Divide and COnquer
College projects can be unwieldy at best. Some even last all semester!
How are you supposed to keep these major projects on track while juggling all of your other academic and personal responsibilities?
The answer is simple – divide and conquer whenever possible.
This habit can be implemented in several ways, depending on how you prefer to manage your time.
First, you can simplify the extensive work of long-term projects by working on it in small chunks over time.
This is sometimes called the “eating an elephant” method because it mirrors the old adage about devouring a metaphorical pachyderm “one bite at a time.”
Also, dividing and conquering can be a matter of partitioning the hours in the day. If you know that you have inflexible commitments in your schedule (classes or meetings, for example), then make sure that the time spent between these scheduled events is fully utilized.
If that means spending an hour between classes working on assignments rather than sitting about idly, then so be it.
Successful college students don’t cram for exams at the last minute.
They develop healthy studying habits that allow them to learn the material slowly (instead of at 2am the night before).
Cramming has been shown to do more harm than good to a students education and elevates stress.
And if you were to be ‘mildly’ successful with cramming, you would only be memorizing the material and not understanding it. I know I sound like your mother, but that is a waste of your money, time, and education!
Not to mention, you are thoroughly screwed if a final exam is cumulative as you will have forgotten the material you ‘crammed’ the first weeks of school by the end of the semester.
Get A Feeling For Your Feelings
Keeping in clear communications with your feelings can also be challenging while pursuing your degree.
Freshman and seniors alike go through emotional struggles related to their changing position in the world, so it is only natural for you to experience new feelings while on campus as well.
Whether positive or negative, these feelings should be processed in a healthy manner whenever possible.
Many successful college students accomplish this by remaining emotionally open to their friends. However, this kind of emotional clarity is not always possible, even with the support of friends.
Regardless of what college you go to, know that help is available to ensure that you are able to successfully manage the emotions that come with being a college student.
College burnout is a very real threat and it’s likely you or a friend will experience it if you aren’t proactive.
A good (and cheap) way to get a handle on your emotions is to journal about them freely. It’s almost therapeutic what writing down your thoughts and feelings has for your emotions.
Utilize Your Professors
Some folks arrive at college with their old high school habits, like avoiding their teacher like the plague. Perhaps in high school hanging out with your teachers was ‘nerdy’ but this is different. College simply doesn’t operate like that.
Instead, successful college students often realize that their professors are a remarkable source of knowledge that can help them grow towards their goals.
While this obviously means that you should be going to class and participating as much as possible, utilization of your professors can also come in the form of after-class participation.
In other words, you should strongly consider attending your professors’ office hours. This can be the best time to request personalized feedback and simply enjoy a conversation with an expert in the field you are pursuing.
Plus, in a class of over a hundred, it’s good for the professor to put a face to the name. It might not turn your C into an A, but if they see how much you care, the effort and dedication you put in, it will only help you.
Manage A Healthy Environment
Living in a college dorm can be a great way to form a close bond with your roommate.
However, dorm life also often means living with your roommate’s personal habits, which may or may not be particularly…refined.
As such, you may be regularly exposed to loud noises and poor cleanliness, all while you’re trying to study.
As best you can, try to keep these aspects of your environment under control.
After all, a clean, calm environment has been shown to be conducive to academic success time and again.
If that’s not possible in your personal living space, chart out a few places on campus where you can work in peace. As always, the library meets this need with like no other!
Eat Right And Drink Water
One of the major adjustments when it comes to college life is the freedom to eat what you want, when you want.
Dorm cafeterias really hammer this home while serving all kinds of delicious, but not always nutritious, foods.
While you need not chart out a specific diet, you should still treat your body right and work to eat healthy foods whenever possible.
If you’ve always relied on your parents for healthy meals, this adjustment may be harder on you.
Grab my grocery shopping list for college students to get you started on the right foot!
This includes drinking plenty of water each day. The “8 glasses a day” rule of thumb applies here, so consider carrying a water bottle to keep your intake up over the course of the day.
When paired with healthy eating, this habit will keep you alert and prepared to engage all of your academic pursuits with all of your brain power.
These are just a few of the most important habits for aspirational college students to form along the path of success.
That being said, these will make a major difference in your academic and personal life on campus, regardless of whether you’re a brand new freshman or a seasoned graduate student.
By working these 7 habits into your daily collegiate life, you’ll find yourself reaching new heights and achieving lofty goals like never before.
These habits of successful college students will foster a reliable zeal for life as well, so consider making a personal resolution to implement them as soon as possible!
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