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7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know to be Successful

By: Tashina Fleming

The focus of my blog is “Healthy mind, body and spirit.” As a college freshman, I really struggled with finding the tips and tricks to college. The next few years posed to be an even bigger challenge when I coupled poor time management skills with an unhealthy diet. Needless to say the “freshmen 15” was the least of my worries. I was worn thin and knew I needed to make a change. For the past year, I have let go of my bad habits and instead have cultivated a healthy lifestyle. Now in my senior year of college, I hope to share some of the tips, tricks, recipes, and interesting things that I have learned over the years. My blog promotes optimism and clean living in an effort to empower and inspire other college students.

 1. Time Management/Prioritizing

             Of all the things I have learned in college, this has proven to be the most difficult one. The earlier you incorporate the concept of time management into your life, the better and less difficult it will be in the long run. A large part of college is learning how to juggle several things at once, i.e., classes, work, social life, homework. The best way to combat this is to prioritize and organize. Using an agenda is an efficient way of organizing upcoming appointments, meetings, daily homework, and upcoming exams. I go through every syllabus at the beginning of the semester and write down every major assignment in my agenda, ensuring that I always know when I should begin studying for a test or prioritize where the most effort should go for the week. Make a daily to-do list, putting the vital items at the top of your list. Crossing off each item is fulfilling and even provides a map for the most time consuming events, allowing for you to plan around it next time. Although it is easy to get caught up in the fun of college, it is important to prioritize doing homework before you go out. Being hung over and attempting to do homework at midnight on Sunday is not good for your health and can turn into a vicious cycle. Time management abolishes wasted time and can be incredibly beneficial, freeing up your schedule for more fun things.

2. Exercise

Regularly exercising is an important habit to incorporate for not only college, but for the rest of your life. Whether you are lifting weights at the Rec, taking a Zumba class or walking on the Greenbelt, it is crucial to work in roughly 30-45 minutes of daily exercise into your schedule. Exercising daily fights cortisol levels, thus lowering stress levels, which can be especially valuable during midterms and finals week. It can also keep off extra poundage and increase endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, promoting a happier, healthier you.

3.  Fun/Friendships

 It is true that the purpose of being in college is to learn, but it is equally important to socialize. College is a place where you can create lifelong friendships and experience new adventures. However, your experience often times reflects how much effort you put in. In order to have an amazing time, you must get out and do things; no one will know that you are even there if you are constantly in your room doing homework. Make an effort to get all homework done before the weekend, so you can afford to go out. If you still feel as though your schedule is too busy then schedule a coffee, lunch date or even a walk at least once a week with a friend that you cannot back out of. Getting out of your room or off campus will ensure that you have a fulfilling experience at BSU.

4. Get Involved

I recently read in an article that being lonely is the equivalent to smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes everyday. It is not uncommon for undergraduates to feel the blues at some point in their career. A great way to fight loneliness is to get involved. Boise State has the Student Involvement and Leadership Center that is designed to help students get involved. The center provides links to everything from Greek life to volunteering to the hundreds of clubs and organizations on campus. They hold several events every month that promote unity and involvement on campus. Another great way to get involved is to develop relationships within your degree. Many degrees offer clubs/organizations which tie in with your program. This allows you to build relationships with other peers, professors and often times acquire real world experience. Not only are you benefitting yourself, community and school, but it even looks good on a resume!

5. Healthy Diet/Get Plenty of Sleep

 Eating a well-balanced and nutritious meal provides you with the energy to get through the days’ activities. We’ve heard it a million times, but it is true that developing and maintaining a healthy diet is a step in becoming successful. You need to provide your body with the proper fuel, so it can handle a vigorous class schedule and still perform during other activities. Poor nutrition can often times lead to sickness, especially during Boise’s winter months. Along with proper nutrition, getting plenty of sleep is crucial as well. It is recommended that you get between 8-9 hours of sleep a night. By pairing both of these essentials together, you are ensuring that your immune system is at the optimal fighting level to ward off any sickness, so that you don’t fall behind in school. You can find some pretty nutritious and easy meals online that won’t break your budget; the only thing it takes is a little time. Set a time to get into bed and power off electronics at least a half hour before to make sure that you get a restful night’s sleep.

6. Get Help

 This is something that I struggled with when I first started college. Often times I found myself feeling too shy to ask a professor to go over something again, or I would go to class incredibly ill because I wasn’t sure where the student health building was. Boise State has a vast amount of resources to make sure students are successful, but it depends on whether or not you take advantage of them. BSU has tons of resources for nearly any given situation, from health services, to lawyers, to career counselors if you are undecided on your major, to free tutoring. Whatever your situation is, BSU more than likely has some type of service to help you with your woes; it is only a Google search or phone call away. As a senior I take full advantage of the services offered and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

7. Be Reliable

 Being unreliable at moments is something that comes naturally with college life. Our lives are incredibly busy and sometimes it is much needed to not go to an event and study for an exam instead. However, the trouble sets in when you become a flake. It is important to draw the line between prioritizing between things and flaking constantly. Agree to things that you know you can make for sure and if you can’t make something, make sure to notify the person. People who run clubs, organizations and tutor work hard on making their commitment to you, so it is important to be respectful and notify them. Often times we flake on people so that we can “accomplish something,” but instead will end up checking Facebook or Netflix. Discipline yourself to make use of your time and if you feel like you will be unproductive, then go to the event. If you flake on someone enough times, chances are they won’t call you again to hang out, even when you have time for them. Every time I have gone to an event that is either school related or non-school related, I am usually incredibly happy that I went. Often times I will gain new experience or a new connection versus if I had flaked and stayed at home.

2 Comments on 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know to be Successful

  1. JenniferCall1 // Mar 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm //

    These are some great points about learning how to be successful in college. As a graduate student in my last semester of school here at BSU, I wish I could say that I've mastered all of these tricks. Unfortunately, that is not the case. However, I have found all of these strategies to be helpful at some point over the past two years as I've been working on my Masters degree. Maybe the trick is to pick one at a time to improve instead of trying to do them all at once. My next goal: don't procrastinate!!!

  2. As a faculty member, I have to say that I think all of these are true for faculty as well! I know that I am still working on some of these myself. I like the comment from JenniferCall1 that "maybe the trick is to pick one at a time to improve instead of trying to do them all at once". I think I'm going to work on health diet/get plenty of sleep over the holiday 🙂

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