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5 Tips that Helped me to Succeed and Find my Place during my First Semester as a Green Knight

By: Ava Dahlman

Stay On-Track with Studying

Do not wait to start studying! Staying on-track with studying can help to relieve the feeling of anxiousness associated with exam days. Instead of cramming all the information that you need to know on the night before an exam, I recommend organizing and reviewing information after every lecture and lab period. Personally, I like to create study guides for every exam. This technique forces me to review my notes after every class period. This studying habit has allowed me to identify tricky concepts early on and spend more time understanding them before an exam. It is likely that concepts will build upon one another. Don’t procrastinate. Master them now! Moreover, another benefit of this technique is when it comes time for the exam, I have all of the information that I am expected to know contained within one document. I like to think of my study guides as a niche search engine; it contains all of the answers to any questions that I may have!

Take Breaks and Find Time for Yourself

Studying can feel like an endless task, and in many ways, it is! We are constantly learning new concepts in our courses, but it is very important to take breaks throughout the day. Breaks can come in a plethora of forms. When taking study breaks, I recommend getting up and away from your materials. Maybe meet up with some friends at Ed’s for a half hour, take a stroll down to the docks by the campus center, or use the time to pick away at a project you’ve been working on outside of classes. Whichever way you choose to spend your break, make sure that you are being intentional with it and giving your mind an opportunity to be free from all the vocabulary and concepts from class. Don’t spend your breaks worrying about what still needs to be accomplished once you get back into it; instead use your break as a short period of time to reward yourself for all of the hard work you’ve already put into learning. Use this time for yourself!

Associate Study Locations with Specific Courses or Tasks

When it comes to studying for difficult subjects or writing a grueling paper, I find it most efficient to head to a specific study spot. Associating a specific study location with a specific task allows you to stay focused on that one task and momentarily block out the rest of your ever-growing “to-do list.” Studying in these task-associated locations allows you to compartmentalize specific tasks and complete them more efficiently. For example, I struggle with writing papers for classes, so I always head to the same spot in the library to focus on my writing. When I am in this spot, my brain knows that it is time to focus on writing and it is not a time to be thinking about everything else that still needs to be accomplished that day.

Create a Routine and Stick with It

I believe that creating a routine that works for you and sticking to it is the key to success in college. Creating a routine allows you to wake up each day with a plan and a purpose! I do not recommend scheduling out your day right down to the last second, but creating a moderate amount of structure within your days can be extremely helpful in staying on top of your work and studies. Whether it is waking up at a certain time or blocking out a portion of your day to spend in the library so you can study for your next exam, waking up with a plan is a great way to end the day feeling accomplished. As Honors Students, I understand that a common feeling we all share is reaching the end of the day and feeling like we haven’t accomplished enough. For this reason, I also suggest not only blocking out time for academics, but also dedicating time for hobbies and a personal life. As we move into this new semester, I encourage you to create a daily routine or schedule that works with your classes and schedule. The time needed for studying will not magically block out itself. Be intentional in your efforts to maximize your time every day, but do not forget to be kind to yourself.

Live in the Moment

Although this may seem a bit contradictory to the previous tip, it is important to allow yourself a bit of free time to enjoy the moments that we all have here together at St. Norbert College. As I said above, do not schedule your day down to the last second. Allow yourself time for spontaneity. Of course, understanding coursework and earning high grades is an important part of college, but don’t let it prevent you from enjoying the moment. Spend time with friends, create memories, and live in the moment. Meet new people, try out a new activity or club, and take advantage of all that St. Norbert College has to offer! For example, you could catch up with the Pulse, go support the Green Knights at a sporting event, attend a performance by the St. Norbert Band, or listen in on a Killeen Chair lecture. I loved having the opportunity to listen to American philosopher Martha Nussbaum discuss environmental ethics this past fall! There is something for everyone here at St. Norbert College! Be sure to check out the events calendar found on MySNC. It is a great resource for finding a way to fill an empty evening!

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