Are you or your loved one heading off to college soon and want to start off the semester on the right foot? Or perhaps you have already been at college for a semester or two and are just now realizing that you are not getting what you expected out of your college experience. Either way, it is never too early or it is never too late to start maximize your time at college. Let’s face it, your time there is going to fly by faster than you think. Listed below I have put a few suggestions for you or your loved one to really maximize their time at college.

Take an Extra Class


The average full class schedule is four to five courses per semester. Depending on what kind of student you are and what kind of classes you are taking, this may or may not sound like a lot of work. Let’s face it, your first semester and overall your first year is basically scheduled with all of your general education requirements like science, math and philosophy. For your second year and on, your class schedule will still have some general education requirements, but now you will be taking on more and more of the classes for your major. Here is my suggestion to you. If you can, take an extra class a semester or complete a class over the summer break. For obvious reasons do not overload yourself if you already have a difficult and full class schedule laid out. On the other hand if your schedule for the semester is already on the lighter side, an extra class will really help you out and here is why.

The general education classes are the easier classes that require less work on your part. Do not get me wrong, you still have to study and complete class assignments. But these courses typically do not require a ton of extra work being done outside the classroom. As you progress with your major, you will find that courses do require more and more work to be completed by you outside the classroom. Research, presentations, group projects and term papers will become the new norm to you. All of these things become more challenging and time demanding on your part as well. So here is the beauty in my suggestion, if you take an extra class a semester or a class over the summer, then you are in essence saving yourself time and frustrations in your future semesters. Instead of running off to a class to sit through another boring lecture, you now have that extra time to focus on your heavy workload for your major studies.

Multi-task During a Boring Lecture

I cannot stress to you enough the importance of multi-tasking. If you have not already experienced this, you will quickly find out how some professors endlessly drone on during some lectures. While you always want to pay attention as to not miss anything important that the professor may say, you will see that during some classes you can clearly complete other work. My suggestion to you is to always have some stand by work that you could complete during some of these lectures. Why let an hour and a half slip by being bored out of your mind when you could clearly complete an assignment that you need to do anyway. So heed my advice and do not be afraid to multi-task. In the end you will only save yourself time and headaches down the road.

Learn it from the Get Go


Have you ever heard the expression “he who hesitates is lost”? Well that expression could not be more applicable to the suggestion that I am offering you now. Learn your class material from the start. I know there are those of us out there that are quick learners and those of us that are not. On top of that, we all have certain subjects that just make sense for us. Personally, I am not great at algebra, but English and history just always seem to click. Whatever the case may be for you, the bottom is this, the quicker you grasp hold of the new material taught to you from the start, the better off you will be and here is why.

You are going to be bombarded every day with new class material and lectures in all your classes. Now I want you to picture this, you have an exam the next day. So naturally you take out your books and head to your favorite study area to review your class notes. As you would expect, the material that was just taught to you the other day is still fresh in your mind. However, the material that was taught to you in the beginning of the semester is a little foggy. In fact, you were not even completely sure that you understood what was taught to you then. Now you go into a panic mode and try to find a classmate you does get that part of the material to quickly tutor you. Anyway with that being said, if you take your time and you learn the material from the get go, you are going to save yourself major headaches down the road.

Blow Off the Stress


Stress Ball ManipulationCredit: Wikimedia

I think we all can relate and agree that all work and no play does not make one happy at the end of the day. As important as it is to focus on your studies and get all your assignments completed and turned in on-time, it is just as important if not more so to have some fun and blow off some stress. Countless studies have shown that packing on the stress only leads to you being burnt out in the end. This is college after all, we are meant to let loose and relax a bit too.

So what can you do to blow off a little stress? For me personally, exercising was and is a huge stress relief for me. Depending upon my class schedule, I would go to the gym either in the morning or in the evening to work out and clear my head. If possible, I would bring a friend along with me and work out together. The combination of exercising and talking with my friends was hugely instrumental in me relaxing from the daily stresses of college. However, maybe exercising is not your thing and reading is. I do not know about you, but reading text books was not exactly a Zen moment for me. So grab a good book and nice place to sit and knock out a few chapters of something that you actually want to read and enjoy for a change.