A Quick Guide to Avoiding Collegiate Zombie-dom
Being a Berry student is easy. Hah, who am I kidding? Being a college student is hard work any way you slice it. Berry is no exception. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the faculty here really pushes us students to new levels of education. Each major is, of course, different, but Berry does put a strong emphasis on writing and critical thinking, so everyone has their fair share of essays to do. As an English major, I’m subjugated to a boatload of reading homework (200 pages or more every night), but that’s spread out between the four English classes I’m taking this semester (which is highly unusual and I don’t recommend it unless you want to graduate early or something crazy like that), but the college academic experience is different for everyone.
Now, I’m friends with all sorts of people with a smorgasbord of majors and minors, so I’ve seen the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to homework, quizzes, papers, and tests. I myself usually have to worry about reading quizzes and long essays, but my friends have suffered the grueling triple test day, or the double essay with a quiz combo—none of it’s pretty and it all usually results in a higher intake of caffeine. I think the worst part about college is pulling an all-nighter. I myself have done it twice in my entire college career, but I’ve known many who’ve pulled multiple all-nighters in this semester alone.
So, this is where I give my advice to any incoming freshmen or current college goers who haven’t figured it out yet: don’t put anything off. There’s a reason I’m so stress-free at the end of the semester during finals while everyone else is running around screaming and it is this: I get it done ahead of time. It doesn’t sound like a big deal or even that impressive of a strategy, but it works like a charm. Okay, here are a few tips to make you a college pro:
1. Get a planner and keep up with it (this is probably the most important/hardest part)
2. The day you get your syllabi, fill out your planner with as much as you can. Meaning, if the test dates or essay due dates are listed, write them down in your planner and then post them somewhere else in your room that you see every day (like a calendar).
3. Look at your planner every day and highlight/check off the things you’ve done.
4. Make sure important events are plainly visible and leave yourself notes one or two weeks before an assignment is due.
5. Don’t cram for a test the night before (okay, this might be the hardest part). Study a little bit every night the week before a test and review the night before with someone else, preferably someone who is taking the class with you. You’ll be a lot less stressed and you’ll be able to go to bed at a decent time.
6. If you’ve finished working on an essay, let someone else read it and give you some feedback or fix some small spelling/grammar errors you may have made (a second pair of eyes can really help—especially if your eyes are tired from writing).
7. Absorb the information you're learning in class, don’t let it go in one ear and out the other—this tactic will serve you well when it’s time for finals.
Of course, those are only a few tips that will help you be a successful student at Berry (or any college really). If you are feeling really overwhelmed or don’t know where to start on a project, talk to your professor. Berry’s professors are very good at understanding when it comes to stressed-out students and will try to work with you to make your life a little bit easier. So, the moral of the story, don’t let yourself get bogged down by your academics. The more you stay ahead of the curve, the better you’ll feel. I promise you, it’s no fun gambling about campus like a zombie because of an all-nighter. Been there, done that, and I have no desire to be there again.