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7 Things They Don’t Tell You About College Life

7 Things They Don’t Tell You About College Life

College is more than studying to get a diploma. Readings, homework, and requirements are only half the battle. There are things that you need to know about college that even college professors won’t teach you. Get a leg up with seven things no one told you about college life. Amidst all the college rankings that you are obliged to check in order to set your priorities or the impending tuition fees that you need to know in order to save money, there are other things you need to know about college, so be prepared.

1. You should be aware that BFFs will not be formed overnight

All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you are eager to make friends. Some people you meet will only be classmates, acquaintances, or report partners. Finding your close-knit group in college takes a bit of trial and error. Join student organizations and interest clubs, attend a few parties, and enjoy the variety of people you’ll meet along the way.

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2. You have to get to know your professors well

Professors can make or break you, so don’t stay in the dark. Check out student forums for professor guidelines and tips. Build a professional relationship with your professors. Showing professors a good work ethic can even land you a job referral in the future.

3. You should be creative, books are expensive

A study reveals that every year, the average American college student spends up to $1,200 on books and supplies alone. Save some money on books. Borrow from the library, visit a second-hand bookstore, ask friends to lend you a copy, ask your professor if he/she has a spare book you can use, rent a digital copy, or shop online for used textbooks.

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4. You have to figure it out, “required” reading can be optional

This is entirely on a case-by-case basis that you need to figure out. Generally, professors will discuss the most important points of the text in class. When you pay attention to lectures and diligently take notes, you can get away with just skimming your readings before exams.

5. You MAY skip some classes – but in moderation

College students skip classes. If you don’t plan to, good on you. But if you do, skip classes wisely. Some professors do not tolerate absences, some professors do not notice. Whether your reasons are scholarly, or otherwise, just make sure you won’t get caught.

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6. Sometimes you need to isolate yourself to get things done

Distractions are everywhere. When you have a paper due in a few hours, isolation is your best bet at finishing on time. If you have references online, download them and turn off your WiFi connection. Stay in a library instead of your dorm, so you’re not tempted to take a nap.

7. You need to get enough sleep, and health is a priority.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, 50% of college students report daytime sleepiness and 70% attain insufficient sleep. Loss of sleep can mean a lower GPA, inability to concentrate, and may even cause mood swings. Drinking coffee or energy drinks to pull that all-nighter only promotes that vicious cycle. If you can’t avoid staying up, consider taking a nap. Daytime naps may offer a potential remedy that may also help academic performance.  When you’re up to your neck in coursework, it’s easy to neglect your own health and well-being. Getting sick means missing your classes, catching up with assignments, and if you missed an exam, rescheduling with your professor. No one will take care of you but yourself. Drink vitamins. Ditch the junk food. Get some exercise. Take time to relax. There will be moments when you feel like giving up. You will question if college was the right decision or if there is a point in crossing the finish line. With college dropouts like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg still finding success, leaving without a diploma doesn’t sound bad, right? However, the Pew Research Center’s report on The Rising Cost of Not Going to College, states that “on virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time—college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.” Beyond financial matters, studies also suggest that college graduates live longer and healthier lives, have stable marriages, and produce healthy children. Most graduates say their college education helped them to grow intellectually, mature as a person, and prepared them for a career and adulthood.

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Featured photo credit: Scensiblesbags via scensiblesbags.com

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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