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Time passes...will you?

Freshman pharmacy major Violet Martin knows all too well how difficult college can get. If you didn't get the grades you wanted last semester, then reevaluate, put your game face on, and don't give up (photo/Jennifer Kolb).

Freshman pharmacy major Violet Martin knows all too well how difficult college can get. If you didn't get the grades you wanted last semester, then reevaluate, put your game face on, and don't give up (photo/Jennifer Kolb).

Another semester is well underway, and if you stumbled last semester, you may have doubts about how to be successful this semester and the mountains of work coming at you like a high-speed train. Freshman, senior, or anywhere between, here are some lifesaving college survival tips and a life jack to keep your head above water and save you from drowning.

Attend all your classes. This should be a no-brainer. By attending classes, you will absorb the material that will reappear on quizzes or tests. However, some students feel they can miss classes and be successful. This is not true. 

Even if you are not paying for your schooling, it is extremely expensive to those who are. College is much different than high school. In college, you are not hand-fed information, and professors will not “move you though” just so you can pass and “move on.”

Do the work. Read the chapters ahead of time. Keep up with your studies; put in the time and hard work now. Read, highlight, take notes, and ask questions. Star or mark material that you have questions about or are interesting to you. There is another student in your class–at least one–that has the same question as you. It is better to ask it now than before it shows up on the exam.

Put away the distractions. Put the cell phone away. You will live for an hour even if you are not connected to the rest of the world. The world will not end if you miss a text from a friend or significant other. This is also true for the laptop. Taking notes by hand is better than burning up the keypad on your laptop. Too many distractions with streaming, music, internet sites and games can ruin your focus in the classroom. There is a time and place to socialize and play games or stream movies and music. That time is not while you are in class. Let’s be honest; your professors will know. They will not point a finger at you, but they can see everything that is going on, even if you are in the back of the classroom.

Participate and sit in the front. Removing distractions is a step-up from missing what your professor just said, and sitting up front is like a bonus round in the life of college. Sitting in the front adds other bonuses, too. For example, it is easier to see what your professor is presenting whether that is a PowerPoint or notes on a dry erase board.

Talk to your professors. Communicate. Your professors are human, and they care about their students. So keep in touch with them by comparing schedules and finding a time to meet regularly. That could be right after your class or during their office hours. If those times don't work, send a quick email to set up a time to meet and discuss material that is difficult to understand. Don’t lie to your professors. Making up projects or tests only works if you make them up.

Limit your extracurricular activities. Every college student longs for friends and relationships on campus that will last a lifetime. College students also need to release stress and talk to friends about their classes or participate in an activity on campus by joining a club. One club is fine. However, once you start adding responsibilities on top of your already jam-packed college schedule, time flies by and then time to study seems to disappear. Once you are behind, it is very difficult to catch up. If you are an athlete, your time to socialize will be even more limited. Balancing athletics and studies is especially difficult for athletes. Balancing athletics, studies, and clubs is even harder. You are not Superman or Superwoman, so limit your activities to only what you can handle. Keep in mind, however, that your limits may differ from your friends who are not athletes who are practicing and traveling for competition.

Reduce stress, and make time to relax. Life is all about balance–even after college. Go for a walk, rollerblade, lift weights, bike, draw, journal, meditate, or read a book for fun. Find a relaxing, creative outlet, and enjoy some down time. This will keep you healthy, and by keeping your stress levels down, you'll sleep better and establish a different, more relaxing vibe to college life. Your activity does not have to be expensive, and you do not have to join a gym with a monthly payment. Walk around campus, for example. Find what you like that makes you happy, and do it responsibly.

Talk to your on-campus mentor. Everyone needs and has that one favorite professor who will listen to you when you need to cry or vent. Being away from family and your hometown is hard. It is difficult, and it makes the transition to college stressful. This is your first step into adulthood, and it is a big deal.

Learn your habits for studying. Use time management. Figure out where and how to study. Not everyone is a morning person, wide awake and raring to go at 8 a.m. Some are night owls and do better in night classes. Make sure your college schedule reflects that in the best way. There will be that one semester that you must take the 8 a.m., or 7 p.m., class. You will live and may even learn something about yourself that you didn't already know.

Treat school like you would a job. This is your future career. Are you attending classes? Are you on time? Are you completing projects? In real life, you must participate and go to work. What you are doing now helps you become successful in the future. If you are skipping classes because you do not feel like going, what does that say to your future boss?

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