Tuesday, 28 June 2011

You've got into your course - Now what? Part 2.

Part 2 of god-knows how long. I think I may make this the last of this segment. Onward!

So, by now you should have your accommodation sorted out for the next six months at least. If you've been smart, you've scored yourself a job to keep yourself afloat. The next two important things are actually to do with your study.

Firstly. You kinda need to get a timetable organized. This will be beyond invaluable when you start your semester, because trust me. College/university can and will crush your spirits with a truckload of assessment.

All due at the same time.

Daunting? Any sensible person would agree. And so, we come to the timetable. If you haven't already, you need to book your classes for the next semester, give your boss the heads up on your studies, etc. Following your class enrolments, you should draw yourself up/find on the internet an actual spreadsheet timetable (an ideal one would be a weekly Sun-Mon sheet, with hourly segments).

The first thing you're going to want to put in there is your class hours. Once those are out of the way, incorporate your work hours so that you can clearly identify when you're NOT available to study/enjoy life. Following that, you should make yourself a study plan.

The Study Plan
 1. Allow yourself up to 10 hours per week for your entire study commitment (can't remember if it's per class or your entire degree). 10 hours is possibly the bare minimum if you want to scrape by with good grades. Assign these hours split up amongst the week evenly. Studies (and myself) have actually proven that something is best revised the day after, giving the information a much better chance at being drilled into your long-term memory.
2. If you're really anal about when you study what, revise lecture notes a day after said lecture, and work on assessment at a later time in the week.
3. You do have the flexibility of choosing to study during your free time, or during specific study sessions (ie. substituting a revision session with an assessment session).

Now, if you're like a number of folk I know, study is possibly the least appealing thing to you when it comes to college. "I can get through college without studying! I did it in highschool!"

Well then sunshine. Prepare to endure months of possible guilt, meltdowns during exams, and nonstop pestering by your teachers as to why you didn't hand in an assignment. Not to mention you will fail your degree if you do not keep a certain grade average (which varies from course to course, I'd say). Do a study plan. Seriously, I've learned my mistakes, and a study timetable has made some amazing changes to my grades and general well being.

The Textbooks
So by now, you should have your classes enrolled, your boss informed, and a study timetable written up. Next on the agenda this week is textbooks. Hoo boy, doesn't the word just give that awkward shudder down your spine?

Toughen up, pumpkin. Unlike in highschool, your textbooks are going to be your gods for the next few years. Why is this, you ask?

The answer to almost any question in the majority of courses is going to be in the textbook. 90% of the time, the answer lies just beneath the surface of a jumble of words. Your textbook will always have a glossary. Find a key word within your assessment/question, look it up in the glossary/reference at the back, and you will be sent in the correct direction.

During exams, you'll be given study notes. Sometimes, if you annoy them enough, lecturers/professors will give out little nodes of information about what the fuck to study for an exam. So, with your textbooks, I can highly recommend finding Stickynotes or something and tagging important sections of your textbooks.

This can be achieved during or outside study/class hours, and will take a maximum of 30 seconds out of your busy life. This little technique is incredibly valuable, and a time saver for when you're in a pinch with your assessment.

As I said, textbooks are your best friend for this stage of your life. Next post, we get to the gritty-nitty part of university - maintaining a social life (if you have one, of course).


1. Before buying brand new textbooks, have a browse around the internet for a second hand version of it. More often than not, there's going to be a website set up for college students to sell their no longer needed books. And these are generally in very good condition for a much cheaper price. You could turn $400 into $200.

2. Study is hard. I can definitely agree with you on that one. But it's something you basically signed up for when you applied for the course. Bite the bullet, spend a small amount of time each week on study and assessment. Knowing you've done even a little bit for that day can make you feel much more at ease, and give you a much better chance at keeping reasonable grades.

3. Getting into a schedule can be very difficult as well. However, stick to it a couple of weeks, and it'll be ingrained into your daily routine. Take a gander at this link to get an idea of how to successfully get yourself used to your new timetable.

Tricks to help make a new habit stick

Next post will be covering the basics of your first few weeks at college, and in about a week, I'll be doing the first of possibly a few interviews on current college students, and their experiences are to be shared with you.

Later days!


  1. great writing thanks for sharing

  2. wow thats pretty cool stuff.
    thnx for the share.

  3. This college guide is really helpful. I hope you post a lot more of these sort of guides in the future! Perhaps something on figuring out college algebra? =p

  4. Pfft, $400. Like I'd allow myself to spend that kinda cash.

  5. Its all about discipline. Establish a schedule and routine and stick to it. Do make time for fun and messing around though!

  6. I can't even begin to imagine what that sort of experience must be like.

  7. very interesting, especially since I'm definately going to university at some time in the near future!

  8. thanks man, im headed off to college soon and am looking to do well academically, followed!