a smart girl looking at the microscope

Becoming a student, regardless of your age, can be daunting. It usually entails a new environment, new people, and a new subject. When you decide to study a subject, there is usually a reason for it; perhaps a new career. But it is not enough to just turn up and study. You have to put in the effort if you want to learn, retain information and succeed at your goals. Here are 8 habits of successful students that you can learn from and implement on your new journey. 

#1 Set goals

There must be a reason why you have chosen to study. Take some time to think about why you are there and what you want to achieve. Write it down somewhere, maybe even at the front of your notebook, or stick it on your wall above your desk. This serves as a great reminder and motivation for the days you start to struggle and to keep you heading in the right direction. 

#2 Get yourself organized

Based on your study timetable and your goals, get yourself organized and make a plan. When are you going to study? Do you study better before class or after class? Do you study better in smaller chunks of time or one big one? When are you going to exercise? When are you going to have a break? When are all your deadlines for studying and applications for after studying? When you become a student, you are likely going to be extremely busy. Getting yourself organized ensures that you are making time for all the important things. 

#3 Look after your health 

Exercise, sleep and nutrition may be at the bottom of your priority list as when you’re studying, time is of the essence. However, making time in your schedule to ensure you get enough sleep and can regularly exercise is crucial for improving your focus, concentration, and memory as well as decreasing stress. Without it, you are likely setting yourself up for failure. Make sure you include sleep, exercise, and good nutrition when creating your schedule. 

#4 Always take notes in class 

Taking notes in class is an underestimated habit. You may get printouts from your lecturer, or you may think you will be able to remember it all, but after a few classes, that is a lot of information to try and obtain. Taking notes in class is important to keep you engaged, increasing your chances of remembering the information, and will help you focus on the important notes when it comes to revising, as opposed to re-reading the entire textbook. You do not need to write down everything your lecturer is saying, just important pointers that will serve as reminders, and that can be expanded on when you revise.

#5 Set up a dedicated study space 

Find a space, whether it is in your apartment, a coffee shop, or the library, where you are most focused. This space should ideally be somewhere with a computer or a clean space where you can use your laptop, with limited distractions such as a television and other devices. Make sure you feel comfortable in the space and you have everything you need to study effectively.

#6 Find or create a study group

It is key that you make time and space for yourself to study without distractions, but it is also important to find a group of students who are studying the same subjects as you. This can be a great way to help each other when you find yourself stuck, keep everyone motivated, bounce ideas off each other, and learn new perspectives. It can also help to retain information when you are teaching it and discussing it with others. 

#7 Stay engaged

Engage with the entire student experience. Get involved with students, get-togethers, raise your hand in class and ask lots of questions, volunteer, anything that is offered to you, take it. It can make the experience much more fulfilling and allow you to learn from people and make new connections which can help you with your future goals. 

#8 Learn to manage your money 

Money can be a tough subject when you are a student. With tight deadlines and assignments hanging over your head, the last thing you need to worry about is money. It is important right from the outset you learn how to manage your money effectively, how to budget your money so it lasts as long as you need it too and how to avoid student debt

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Being a student goes further than just turning up to class and studying. There are many different things to think about when you decide to become a student, including your organization, your money, and your health. All of which are important habits of a successful student.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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