Today on the blog, I am sharing some advice I wish I had my freshman year of college. You see, I didn’t come from a great high school. It wasn’t horrible, but it definitely didn’t prep me for college as much as I’d like. I eked out a 23 on my ACT and set my sights on the University of Central Arkansas. I was learning to study in my own way, and it’s definitely still not perfect. but I wish I had told my 18-year-old self not to stress too much about the study methods of other people.
Okay, so we are traveling back in time to a history class during my freshman year of college. I’d gone over my study guide the only way I truly knew would work for me. I filled it in, said it to myself a few times, and really worked hard at it. I mean, it was just a freshman level world history class, how hard could it be? I got through the studying and then on test day I plopped in my seat, having studied all I could imagine myself studying, and I was ready to tackle the test. All around me sat my classmates, flashcards sprawled across their desks, some of them were even quizzing each other. What did I get myself into? I probably didn’t even have any index cards to my name at this point. I was never a flashcard person. One thing I hate more than anything is memorization, and I didn’t want to memorize all these names just so I could brain dump them out on a freshman history test.
I ended up with a B in that class. Maybe if I had done the memorization/flash card sprawl I would have been better off. It might have taken my B to an A if I spent hours with flashcards up to my knees for all five of my classes freshman year. I may have walked out of that semester with a 4.0 instead of a 3.4 GPA. But then I wouldn’t have had some of my best moments like getting Sonic cokes and tattoos, seeing Miranda Lambert, joining my sorority, and all the other fun things I did my freshman year.
When it comes to studying in college courses–we all study differently. There are so many different study methods and what works for your college classmates may never in a million years work for you. What I want for my readers more than anything is for you to find the method that works for you and for you to stand by that method unapologetically. You may get flustered when you see your classmates Red Bulling it up in the library until 4 AM, but if you don’t pull all-nighters don’t feel like you have to.
I loathe all-nighters. I’d rather get six good hours of sleep and get back at it in the morning than spend my nights hacking away at studying half-heartedly in the library. I may have some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) on some cool late night study sessions, but I’ll catch you on the other side of my awesome dreams, yo!
I hate memorization. I’d rather listen in class, skim the book, and speak my notes out loud to myself. Note cards aren’t for me and they never have been.
I hate popping pills to study for hours on end. I knew people in college who used that as their method of choice, but I chose a major that challenges me to think and write articulately without causing my brain undue stress and probably lots of troubles down the road. No pills for me broski!
I may not always get 100s on every assignment, but I am proud of how much knowledge I have gained since I went to college in 2011, and since I have been in graduate school. I have so much more to learn and I can’t wait to learn it in my own way. I can’t be concerned with how my classmates choose to learn and study. I can only handle how I choose to study.
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