What makes the most successful and put-together among your classmates so different? It’s not about cramming, genetics, or money. It’s about the rules they follow and the habits they cultivate. You can adopt these rules that are sure to help you catch up and get ahead. I’ve prepared five of them to get you started.
In a few years, you won’t have professors, parents, or roommates to remind you of doing laundry or submitting homework. You’ll have to fend for yourself and stay on top of a million little things that make up our everyday lives. Get into the adult mindset now, while you still have time to make mistakes and build your self-organization system.
It’s not just about time-management, though it is definitely a part of thinking ahead and planning. You’ll need a calendar or task tracking app, daily planner, or any other organization tools you enjoy. Try a few to find out which system works best for you and remember to analyze results and make course-corrections if something doesn’t work for you. For example, I love the feel of a paper planner, but I can’t keep track of it throughout the day, so I switched to Todoist and Google Calendar to stay on top of all classes, meetings, and assignments.
College might teach you to resolve specific industry-related issues, but general problem-solving is a soft skill every employer is seeking. They want employees that can identify a problem, offer a solution, or failing that, reach out for help before it is too late. You probably practice your problem-solving skills every day whenever you run into stressful situations or choices.
The key here is to know when you are out of your depth. If the problem is too tricky, try everything you can think of for 15 minutes and write down failed solutions. After 15 minutes are up, reach out for help. For example, if you can’t find the time to complete an assignment or get around it, engage professional essay writing services. Many startups use this 15-minute rule with great success.
College tuition is so high many students believe school will provide them with enough skills and knowledge to last a lifetime. The truth is, professors and classes can only go so far, and it is up to you to continue learning outside the classroom. It might seem counterintuitive at first to waste free time on additional classes, but they will pay off in the long run.
Coursera, Skillshare, edX, and even Youtube are all great sources of high-quality educational materials. You choose whether you are ready to pay for condensed knowledge on Coursera or waste time looking for quality instruction on Youtube. I’ve used both, and each has its own downside. Coursera’s pricing can be a bit much, especially if the course is theoretical rather than practical. Besides, you can find some of their courses elsewhere for free (I took a class by IBM on Data Science). Still, I get easily distracted on Youtube, so it can be challenging to find the motivation to watch an educational video rather than a funny clip.
Until scientists come up with a way to download our minds into machines, we are stuck with biological bodies that get cramps, colds, and extra pounds. Scientists have proven the connection between physical activity and mental acuity, and we can make most of their discoveries by keeping our bodies and minds fit.
You don’t have to go on a jog if you hate running, but a 30-minute walk will make you sharper and more focused. Yoga is a great way to stay mindful and healthy without jumping. Meditation might sound boring, but it has a proven positive impact on our brains. Take your pick and devote at least 30 minutes of your day to staying healthy. You can follow my lead and do simple exercises while watching an episode of a TV show every night. It’s not ideal, but it keeps me going.
The best thing about college is that it provides you with countless possibilities for growth and development. You can make lifelong connections, meet your heroes, get on the fast track towards a successful career. However, you shouldn’t wait for opportunities to fall into your lap. Keep your ear to the ground and your eyes open. Talk to your professors and study group buddies, make most of the college resources, and browse bulletin boards from time to time. You never know where an internship of your dreams is waiting for you.
I hope these five rules of highly successful students have inspired you to make most of your college experience and get ahead of your classmates in planning, problem-solving, and opportunity hunting.