Here are 10 tips to help you create a productive and memorable college experience.
1. Answer the question, Why am I going to college?
Many college students really don't have a clear reason for being there other than the fact that they don't know what else to do yet. They inherit goals from family and peers which aren't truly their own. What are you there to learn? What do you want to experience?
2. Imagine your ideal college experience.
Once you know why you're going to university, imagine your ideal outcome. Whether you've already started university or not, stop and simply write down some attributes of your ideal experience. Describe it in as much detail as you can. Real life will of course turn out differently than you visualize. The point of visualization is to give you more clarity for making decisions right now.
3. Take at least one extra class each semester.
The real benefit to a dense schedule isn't that you'll graduate sooner. The real benefit is that you'll enjoy a richer experience. This sort of thing sure looks great on a resume.
4. Set clear goals for each class.
Decide what you want out of each specific class. Sometimes you'll achieve your goals; sometimes you won't. Even if you do your best, you may still fall short. You'll have to pick your battles. Some are worth fighting; others are best ignored.
5. Triage ruthlessly.
You don't need to put an equal amount of effort into every class. Inject extra effort when it's important to you, but feel free to back off a little from classes that are a low priority based on your specific goals.
6. Get an early start to each day.
Getting an early start each day helped you get a lot more done, not just in the morning but throughout the day.
7. Reclaim wasted time during your classes.
Not every class is going to require your utmost concentration. Sometimes teachers babble. Sometimes they reiterate what you already know. If a class is really challenging, sit in the front and soak up every word. But if a class isn't challenging you, then sit in the back, do homework for other classes, and pop your head up every once in a while to see if there's anything worth jotting down.
8. Learn material the very first time it's presented.
One of the biggest time wasters in school is having to relearn something you didn't learn properly the first time. When students say they're studying, most of the time they're making up for a previous failure to learn the material.
9. Master advanced memory techniques.
One of the keys to learning material the first time is to train yourself in advanced memory techniques. I don't recommend memorizing by repetition because it's way too slow.
10. Have some serious fun!
Challenge yourself academically, but give yourself plenty of time for fun as well. Don't squander your leisure time hanging around doing nothing.