How To Survive College: How To Prepare For Class

As you may or may not know (if you don’t: where have you been all this time?!?): I’m a college student. And because I do take on quite an extra load of work (extra courses, a job, extracurricular activities) and still do manage to get quite good marks (in general, there’s exceptions to every rule), I have been told that I’m pretty good at the whole studying thing. What’s more, I have been asked how exactly I do it, and seeing how as “no sleep, no life” apparently wasn’t a sufficient answer, I figured I’d write some of my tips down here! In the previous post, I talked about how you could make sure you stay on top of everything – of course, once you know everything that you’re supposed to do, that does still leave… Actually doing it. And the first thing of those is usually: how to prepare for class!

First of all: know your stuff

Preparing for classes actually starts before the term even begins, with a very simple thing, actually: making sure you know how the class works!
Start out by gathering all the relevant information: who’s your professor? Is he going to be the only one teaching the course? Are you supposed to take an exam, do a presentation, write a paper? Is there a manual? Do you know anybody who already took this course, who might be able to give you some tips / insights on all of the above?
Often, your professor is going to go over this information during the first class, but generally speaking you can also find most of it online, so be sure to check that out!

The Day Before

Take it from somebody who learned this the hard way – about ten times over: if you can do something ahead, work ahead – like the day before!
Does your professor give you set reading? Make sure you’ve read it!
Did your professor put a powerpoint online? Download it and / or print it!
Did your professor mention what you were going to discuss? Make sure to read the pages in your manual that talk about it!
Of course, this doesn’t really limit itself to just what you’re going to be studying during class, but also to what you’re going to be doing!

You wouldn’t believe how often I wanted to slap myself because it took me until the moment I was in class to remember that I’d forgotten to take a bottle of water, or a snack, to make sure my laptop was completely charged, or even just plain old to bring pen and paper – the most basic of necessities.

Especially because I tend to change from backpack to purse to other purse to different backpack every other day (or sometimes even during the day!) I’ve come to learn that, basically, if I don’t put it in my bag the night beforehand, I’m not taking it with me – simple as that.
So learn from my mistakes: gather your necessities and pack your bag the night before class.
And I have to tell you, it’s actually kind of a nice feeling not to have to rush in the morning to get everything together – I already did it the night before (and because I actually have time then, that goes a lot smoother) and that tends to mean I can also sleep for 5 minutes longer!
(or at least stress for 5 minutes less)

The Day Itself

So you have to go to class – and your bed was just so comfortable. Great.
First rule? Even if you want to stay in bed for five more minutes, make sure you eat breakfast. As I personally am always running late (even if I get up 2 hours before my classes even start!) I am very familiar with the feeling of why didn’t I just eat something quickly. And let me tell you: it doesn’t particularly help with that whole concentration-thingy!
That’s actually yet another reason for my making my bag the day before: I always try to make sure to put an apple and some sort of a breakfast-cookie in there, so that (even if I do “forget” to have breakfast – again) I do actually have some food in me.
Second rule: try to be early. Not an hour – that’s largely pointless – but if you’re five minutes early every class, you can both make sure you get a good seat, and allow for unforseen circomstances.
Trust me on this one – I once got stuck in my dorm because the sliding doors wouldn’t open…. If I wasn’t supposed to meet up with a friend a quarter of an hour before class started, I wouldn’t have had time to ask somebody to fix it and still get there in time.
And although professors don’t generally remember faces (at least, they don’t here), they are going to remember that one person who always comes in late with their Starbucks (and there’s always one!)
And when you’re in class? Well, that’s where the next post is going to come in handy – so be sure to keep an eye out for that – you can find the whole How To Survive College -series here!
How about you – have you ever been late for class because of a ridiculous (but unfortunately true) reason? Are you more the running late- or the I’m so prepared-type? Be sure to let me know down below!
-Saar