Lifestyle Opinion

Finessing 101: Getting Through College

Being a first generation college student and graduate, nobody ever truly prepared me for college life.

The most important thing to being successful in college is organization and prioritization.

Like most people, when I was getting ready to transition from high school to college, I told myself you’re going to take a full load of classes and maintain a 4.0 GPA the whole time. You can do this. Little did I know, I was dead wrong.

Being a first generation college student and graduate, nobody ever truly prepared me for college life. You always hear your high school teachers say college is harder than high school, which could honestly be far from the truth. High School was probably harder and more annoying in a sense than college ever was. But the thing about college is that there’s nobody there to “hold your hand”. Wait… was high school really hard or was my attention other places? brain fart. But anyway. Going into college, I was the furthest thing from being prepared. I hadn’t quite mastered the art of studying and truth be told, I didn’t truly care as much as I should have to actually be successful.

Halfway through college, after a few failed semesters from catching up on the sleep that I missed nights prior to class, the desire to finish grew in me and the lightbulb went off. I’d started my college years going to tech college just to save a bit of money (false, cause those refund checks were lovely. Ya boy was splurging) then realized that it was time to make that transfer to university to finish with my bachelors. The only thing about it was that when I started the process to transfer, the university could only tell me we’re sorry, but you need to pick that GPA up off the ground first before we can admit you here. Talk about a blow to the chest. After a few tearful car rides back and forth from the university to home, I realized something. Maybe, just maybe, if I actually sit back, organize and prioritize what’s post important in life then I’d be able to get this degree out of my way. I mean, I was already graduating a year later than everybody else that graduated high school with me and that didn’t see well with my spirit, Lord.

Learning to Organize: A Life Changer

One of the most important and game changing things that I ever did to be successful during the second half of college was learning how to be organized. We all have cell phones that come with a pre-built in calendar app and even if it doesn’t, you can download a free one or go purchase a calendar that you can physically write in. Plugging in my assignments and creating reminders is the smartest decision anyone could ever make. I remember my calendar used to be hella full of assignments that I needed to work on. Once I learned the art of organization, those 4.0 semesters started rolling in. Next thing I knew, the university went from telling me to pick my GPA up off the ground to aight, I guess we can let you in but don’t push ya luck. 

Advice: As soon as your professor gives you an assignment and the date, go ahead and plug it into your calendar and set a few reminders, that way you don’t forget that it’s there. If you have enough time in class I’d even recommend getting the assignment done while you’re still in class, especially if it’s a quick and easy one. The assignments that you can finish within a matter of minutes or even an hour, knock those out of the way as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to do an assignment and a teacher reminding you at the last minute then you have to rush and get it done. I mean, you can b.s. the assignment but if you’re not a professional b.s.’er then I wouldn’t recommend lol. It’s an art form knowing how to finesse school work.

Prioritizing: When The Party Has to Wait

I know nobody is going to want to hear this, but hear me out! Sometimes you have to sit back and figure out what’s most important; going to a party and hanging out with your friends or finishing up your school work and getting the hell out of college. I remember one day I was hanging with a group of friends. It was the first day of the semester and I wanted to hang with my friends so bad that I kept telling myself you can skip the first class, they aren’t going to do anything but introductions and it’ll be boring anyway. 

We were all hanging outside, just laughing and vibing when one of my friends mentioned school to me. I don’t remember what the exact conversation was but I do remember what she told me (or something close to it) that changed everything for me . That friend said so you’re going to skip class to hang out with them? do you think any of them would skip class to hang out with you? It was like another one of those light bulbs went off in my head. I sat back in my thinking chair and thought to myself wait a minute, she might just be right. The people that we were hanging out with were all smart and I knew they were doing well in school and definitely wouldn’t ditch class or anything just to hang out. I don’t know why it took for someone to tell me that for it to click in my mind it but worked. So I took my black ass to class.

Advice: Learn to figure out what’s most important in your life. Getting your assignments done doesn’t mean that you have to skip out on every party or kickback, it just means that some things are more important than others. Going to that party that you’ve been dying to go to but were planning on skipping a major assignment for isn’t going to help you in the long run. I feel like I sound like someones buzzkill mom but I’m only being honest. One of those things will be good in the moment and the other will help you out in the long run.

Prioritizing also comes in the form of figuring out which assignments are more important than others. Depending on what you’re working on, I’d recommend knocking the big assignments out of the way as early as possible. I went to school for English and Psychology, so I was always busy writing papers. The great thing about it was that I’d always been a writing and had perfected the craft of finessing a paper and knowing how to get that A or B grade. Sadly, most people hate writing (my heart aches) so I’d recommend knocking out any assignment that requires writing or research early. Get’er done as early as possible, that way when it’s time to turn that baby in you can hand it to the professor with ease. Hell, I’d turn it in early if I were you. Knock out the assignment early, that way you can actually go to that party that you’ve been dying to go to.

Get this down to a science. The real quick assignments, knock those out either in class or as soon as you get home. Sometimes you can wait to do those at the last minute but who wants to rush to finish something? The bigger assignments that require a lot of thought and effort, start those are soon as possible and work on them in time blocks. You can have your cake and eat it too if you want, it just requires a bit of effort in terms of planning things out ahead of time. Do the more important work first, too. If you know one assignment holds a higher weight than others, put your time and effort into getting that done that way you can put an adequate amount of effort into it and get that bomb azz grade on it.

Moral of the story: Organize your work and Prioritize everything in terms of importance! College isn’t as hard as your high school professors made it out to be. They were just a-holes that wanted to scare you because they probably had sucky college experiences. Also, become a teachers pet! Screw what everybody else says about teachers pets. Get on your professors good side, that way if you are behind on a few things, they’d be more forgiving and lenient towards you. The student that actually pays attention (or pretends to care) will get a lot further than the one that doesn’t care at all or doesn’t seem like they’re interested in what the professor is saying.

This concludes another Domyanla session!

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