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zarnold's avatar

How to to become more academically oriented for college?

Asked by zarnold (695points) August 8th, 2007

I slacked off a bit during senior year (video games, etc). How can I be prepared to study harder and be more serious about school this fall other than leaving my computer and other distractions at home?

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13 Answers

jerbils's avatar

Go to sleep and wake up at rational times. I've found that a consistent, normal sleep schedule helped immensely; I have a 3.8 GPA, and slacked off horribly in high school.

jrpowell's avatar

The library and computer lab at school. I had the same problem, I just couldn't get anything done done at home. I started to do all my work at school and that worked really well.

jrpowell's avatar

Sorry about the double "done."

glial's avatar

Remember you'll only be as good as those you surround yourself with. The above advice is excellent.

zina's avatar

coincidentally, my brother got addicted to video games his first semester in college and ended up playing so many hours a day that he flunked out. (and he had a heck of a time getting back on his feet - still working on it).

so since you mentioned video games and distractions, i would also add that if you're the type to get distracted by fun temptations or have an addictive side (like you get caught up in playing and before you know it hours have passed, or you think about it while doing other things, etc), then try to monitor that in yourself. just try to be conscious of what (what EXACTLY) is keeping you from doing your work. perhaps with that awareness you can stay more on track. i say 'more' because extreme can lead to other extremes -- so i suggest letting yourself do something fun/relaxing for, say, 1/2 hour or an hour, then when the clock strikes, back to work. no matter what.

and don't leave your computer at home! you'll want it at school!

finkelitis's avatar

One of the best things you can do to help yourself with college, and in general, is to find some work that you really care about, and find a way to do it, without slacking off at school. What do you love to do? If you love science, maybe you can find a way to intern in a lab. If you love art or photography, get involved in programs outside your school, and find a way to pursue it seriously. If you love helping people and find you have the right kind of personality for it, you could throw yourself into some kind of nonprofit work.

The point is, the best way to help yourself is to find what you're truly passionate about, and let that guide you. It impresses colleges, it will help you avoid distractions, and will serve you in college and beyond. I can tell you that there are a lot of twenty-somethings out in the world who only wish they had begun the work of figuring out what they were really about a little earlier. The question you have to answer is: outside of school, what is your personal work?

zain's avatar

While i dont disagree that interning is an invaluable experience, i wouldnt say it is going to help motivate you. In fact, after earning real money and seeing i could be successful in an internship, i felt even less motivated to work hard in school.

flameboi's avatar

focus on things that really matter, u r not gonna get anywhere with a major in halo 3 right?

kevbo's avatar

1. Get chicks as study partners.

2. Pace yourself. Methodically. Look at your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and add up the # of pages you have to read, etc. and divide the work by the number of days. Then all you have to do is crank through the work for that day. If you want to go a step further do what Seinfeld did and track your progress with a giant wall calendar. Every day you get it done make an "X." Then all you have to do is keep the chain of X's going.

Also agree with the above. Especially the sleep thing.

nomtastic's avatar

take the video games off the computer. have a friend block them on your internet access and keep the password from you.

Pietro's avatar

Buy a day planner that allows you to look at an entire week at once and after you have figured out the pages per day as advised by kevbo, write them in on each day in your planner. When you have a paper, write in your planner each day up to a week a head of time to write some of that paper. Do the same for tests and presentations (plan in advance of the test and write it in on specific days). You can also put your personal appointments in the same planner so you can plan your days realistically (ie. 2 hours of playing ultimate frisbee in the park with Pietro; p47-72 Latin American Studies reading; 1hour pre-writing for Geography Paper; 1/2 hour Halo 3) Stay as balanced as you can so you don't neglect your school work or your fun time. Spreading a particular project out over a longer preparation period will allow you to avoid feeling overwhelmed at the amount of work that will take to finish the project. Little by little, day by day, you can get a lot done.

For reading skills, I had a high school teacher who did his doctorate in adult education focusing on study skills and he told me that the people in his study who spent 45minutes on one subject, then took a break for 15 minutes, then switched subjects and read for 45 minutes, and on and on focused the best of all within the research groups. In the breaks they didn't do things that would be hard to break away from like watch tv shows, and they didn't eat any meals because it would take a longer time to get their mind refocused once they started up their next 45 minute stint. Also, don't read anything or write anything in your break times - give the brain a rest (sometimes I even take a 15minute nap). For focusing, it is also helpful to study in the same place consistently (I prefer the silence of the library or computer lab) so that when you go their your brain snaps into "study mode" almost automatically. What he recommended to do in the break times was exercise (which doesn't have to be done in a gym of course - it could be roller skating or whatever is fun to you that is physical). Lastly, he recommended staying away from windows where you are tempted to daydream while looking outside (this does not mean that you have to stay in a cave, but if the room you want to study in has a bunch of windows, just face a part of the wall that doesn't have one). I don't usually follow this rule because you can start to feel like a prisoner, but I do notice the difference in my ability to study better when I am not tempted to contemplate the roses outside.

skfinkel's avatar

You'll always have distractions, there is no way to avoid them. In college, you will find people who do all sorts of things to keep from studying. Before the internet, I remember college students playing bridge day and night--and several of them would have disappeared the next quarter. It takes will power, obviously, if you love doing something that takes your time away from your studies.

I think the fact that you are asking this question now bodes very well for you. Pay attention to how you are spending your time. See the effect that playing games (or watching TV, or taking drugs, or whatever are the means by which you are avoiding your "life") is having on you. Watch and feel what it's like when you come out of those sessions. Breathe and take a walk, and you may begin to understand what is going on. Those activities keep you from thinking (even if they are another kind of thinking), and it might serve you to begin to explore what you don't want to look at in your life.

That awareness will help you as you begin the next stage--where there are not only temptations, but also no parents to help you stay on task. It's all you. What you will find is that some kids are clear about their priorities--and they will do fantastically well. And they will still have time for fun. Maybe you'll be one of those.

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