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Students walk between classes Feb. 8 on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie. 

Stepping onto your college campus for the first time can be exciting. You suddenly have so many options, whether it be how late to stay up or which clubs to join. However, don’t let it get to be too much. The main reason to attend college is to focus on your classes, letting you get a degree to better your future. It’s best to start out as strong as possible academically and maintain good habits throughout the semester. But what does this look like? How can you not only survive but thrive academically?

Planning ahead

One of the first things you should do is invest in a planner or any way to keep track of how you’re spending your time. You can do this by having a physical planner. There is nothing like checking a box off of a to-do list, which gives off a rewarding feeling. Physical planners also have the pros of being helpful to see all of the upcoming things for future weeks.

Students can also plan ahead by using apps like Google Calendar. This app can be helpful when scheduling study sessions or managing a work schedule. Either way, it is good to know what you should be working on when. However, if you use both of these systems, make sure that they are in sync, so that you don’t forget any important deadlines or meetings.

Also, use your syllabi from your new classes. They are there to help you. One of the first things you should do when getting them is write all of the important deadlines down. You won’t be surprised by sudden due dates. Another thing to log into your planner are the office hours of your professors. These are usually listed at the top of the syllabus. If you write these into Google Calendar and set a reminder on it each week, you always know when you can meet your instructors to ask questions.

Study spaces

Even though doing homework in a comfy bed or a chair sounds like a good idea, it isn’t in the long run. According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2016, doing homework in your bed limits focus, decreases productivity and hurts the quality of sleep.

Desks are in most dorms for a reason. Although this isn’t enough either sometimes. To have a quality amount of production, staying out of your dorm could be the key. While the library is usually the first option to study outside of the dorms, other study space options on campus can include cafes, campus lounges or even parks if it is nice outside. Forming study groups with classmates or attending different tutoring sessions outside of the dorms can also help improve academic performance. You can see a difference if you take a proactive mindset and hold yourself accountable to different studying techniques.

Finding resources and taking time for yourself

While your goal in college is to get good grades, an important thing to do is to take care and time for yourself. Do things during the week that you enjoy to take the stress off of school work, like attending club meetings or going to the gym. Take an hour a day to do one of these things. Don’t let the work control you. Control the work.

You can’t thrive academically if you are not surviving in the first place.

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