“A man's mind, stretched by new ideas, may never return to its original dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Curious how some students remain at the top of their class? Want to know some habits of a good student that are rarely acknowledged in higher education? Then, you have come to the right place.
When you enter college, you often fall behind in classes no matter the extra hours of study you put in due to the extreme pressure. This reality hit me like a ton of bricks during my freshman year after spending weeks studying for my chemistry exam and still failing the course in the end (no worries, this was divine intervention at its finest!)
Successful students, however, have certain habits that help them beat project deadlines and stay ahead of the competition in the academic arena.
Let’s break down 5 of the most valuable habits of good students you can adopt:
1. Always Take Notes
Once in college, many students give up taking notes relying on online sources or recorded lectures. Take it from a successful student; note-taking has no other substitute.
Good notes means academic success!
An ingrained habit of good students is to take organized, well-summarized notes of classes to remain engaged during hour-long lectures and boost their memory of the lessons.
Instead of going through entire lectures or skimming through the books just before exams, good students make a habit of revising their notes for quick recall. You know exactly where the information is, which saves time and effort.
2. Get Organized
“Organize, organize, organize” is the mantra of a successful student. From your study space to your thoughts, organizing helps you remain calm and collected even under the most intense pressure.
Set an organized study plan
Efficient students make it a habit to organize their daily study routine. Studying too many courses at once can often get overwhelming; thus, setting an organized study plan helps. Have a Calculus exam coming up? Organize your study timetable and break down the syllabus into digestible chunks.
Such organizing habits of good students often carry forward to their academic patterns. For instance, writing a college thesis paper also demands you to organize your arguments coherently into a well-thought and cohesive essay.
Your study environment matters
Staying organized has proven to enhance the productivity of students. An organized study space comes in handy in maintaining your focus while studying. Your study environment matters, so never overlook cleaning your study desk and organizing your books.
As a college student juggling societies, internships, and pressing academic deadlines, organizing ensures you give each area due attention and do not end up sacrificing one for another.
Use organizational technology
With modern apps, organizing has never been easier. De-clutter your Outlook inbox and organize all upcoming emails in labeled folders. Organize your online notes and group projects with sites like Notion. Gather and sort all your essential files with Dropbox or Google Drive in one place.
3. Set a Schedule and Plan Ahead
The marker of a successful student is always to plan. Weak at Math? Set out extra practice time on weekends to go over the problems. Have a social college event? Plan out how you will manage it with your academics.
Habits of good students involve planning out every upcoming event, so you are not left juggling several activities at once, remaining at the top of all your deadlines. A good schedule saves you from the student curse of procrastination and keeps you motivated.
I'll never forget the semester I purchased my first planner. College life became so much better. Being organized clears so much mental space!
Feel secure knowing you'll never forget an event
An unexpected event can often cost students their grades. Planning minimizes this risk, so you must schedule your study and non-academic tasks accordingly. Imagine the dread of overlooking an internship opportunity because you had not scheduled it!
Apps like Calendly help schedule your work and social meetings and send timely reminders so you don’t miss out on important submissions, test dates, holidays, term breaks, and career events. Start each day knowing what you can expect and be prepared.
4. Time Management
If you were to ask a college student what their most valuable asset is, they would say time. As deadlines creep up on you and you find increasingly less time to socialize or focus on extracurricular activities, you would trade anything for extra hours.
Use time management to enhance activity management
Time management is the secret to the most successful students topping in every class. Keep track of all your deadlines and allot time to courses depending on difficulty level. Work on the most challenging tasks during the most productive time of your day, leaving the easier ones for later.
Contrary to advice others might give, avoid multitasking. Studies have proven that multitasking reduces productivity and reduces the quality of your work. Managing your time between tasks saves you from such multi-tasking.
limit social media during exam periods
With the distractions of social media, students often fall prey to mindless scrolling on the internet over studying for their test due tomorrow. Your goal as a student should be to limit your screen time as much as possible, especially during exam seasons.
With phone apps like Freedom, start monitoring your screen time and reduce unnecessarily scrolling to set aside time for more productive tasks. Stay ahead of your tasks with productivity tools like Todoist.
5. Monitor your Diet and Sleep
Sleep and diet are often the most neglected aspects of overworked students, yet habits of good students include not compromising on their health over studies. Only when you have enough energy can you focus on your tasks.
Your health is your greatest wealth
Pulling all-nighters before exams and surviving on coffee is harmful in the long run. Sleeping for at least 6 hours each day keeps you energized for studying and socializing, plus boosts your memory.
Timely meals and a balanced diet help maintain your body clock. Skip the junk food at your school cafeteria for the healthier options to maintain your immunity, increase your concentration and cope with the stress of deadlines.
Health and well-being prioritization
Trust me, I know that it isn't always easy to prioritize your health and well-being as a college student. Even after 9 years of being in academia, I still struggle with finding balance. Some semesters are easier than others, but it is always a learning process.
Being sleep deprived or disturbing your body clock can have dangerous consequences such as feeling irritated constantly or low on energy. By strictly monitoring your diet and sleep, you guarantee yourself good grades and studies no longer feel exhausting.
achieving academic success is a process
Following these habits of good students helps you achieve academic success and manage your social life and mental health.
You ultimately feel optimistic about any formidable task thrown your way and are sure to ace all exams and projects. but always remember that achieving academic success is a process. One that requires focus and intentionality.
Keep working at it every day and eventually you will develop the confidence you need to face any challenge in higher education. The best part about spending all these years in academia is that I can honestly that it has become easier to develop habits of a good student overtime.