Student Success Stories: Micaela H.
Micaela H.'s Academic Success Story
Right away I had to make a change in my studying habits because I no longer had the privacy of having my own room like I did at home. Not all roommates have the same studying habits so it made it difficult to study in the dorm room while my roommate blasted the TV. I quickly discovered the library was the place where I could find privacy to study.
My overall study method: Studying for me was all about prioritizing. If I had a major test or big paper due I would concentrate my time on those. For less important things that would affect my grade like a quiz I spent less time focusing on that material. My strategy for studying changes when I know the test will be a written exam. For instance, if I know I am not doing a multiple choice or true and false I will study in topics. By that I mean I will learn a concept at a time and outline it in a note format. This way when it comes time for the written test I can recall the information from the outline easily.
My time management secret: I lived and died by a day planner. Most college students probably manager their time the same way but the difference was that I color coded mine. I was involved in many activities, was a full time student, in a sorority, volunteered and so on. I had to figure out a way to keep them all straight so I came up with a color coding system. Tests and papers were always bold and highlighted. My fun stuff like sorority socials came last and were in pink for instance.
How I deal with multiple projects/tests: Studying for multiple tests and working on a few projects is something every college student experiences. How to get each task accomplished depends on planning ahead. As soon as I got my syllabus for each class I would write the dates of important tests, projects, and papers so they wouldn't sneak up on me. I could start working on them in advance so that I wasn't left doing everything the night before.
My overall study method: If a big test is coming up or paper is due I would usually study in blocks. Sometimes it would end up being an all night cram session. I never really thought that I was studying every day but actually I was. At the end of the day, when all of my classes were over, and I was getting my things organized, I would flip through my notes, my day planner, and review what I had learned that day. I think that was helpful because it was usually right before bed and I felt like I was wrapping up my day with a review.
How I've overcome an initial bad grade: Receiving a lower grade than expect was always a panic moment for me at first. With the first glance of the grade on the paper there is always a lot of anticipation. After seeing the grade, having a brief panic moment, I would then read the professor's comments if any, and go back over the paper and test to see what I had done wrong. Since these grades were few and far between for me I often found myself waiting after class for the professor, sending him or her an email, or scheduling an appointment to figure out what I had done wrong.
My strategies for written assignments: My best advice for handling written assignments is to plan. That may sound like simple advice but that is the way I got through my written assignments successfully. A lot of times students have a choice of the topic they are going to be writing on. Take time to come up with a topic you really want to learn more about or think would be interesting. Don't just pick a topic for the sake of meeting the due date. My other piece of advice when it comes to writing papers is to write an outline first. It was usually harder for me to sit down and start writing without knowing where my paper was going. My outline was a roadmap and I could anticipate the end of the paper.
How I succeed in team projects: In group projects I think it is best to identify the group leader. Naturally (or even sometimes assigned) there is a leader to every group. This person should be the point of contact. Having a representative voice for the group helps to clarify things, keep the group organized, and get things accomplished.
My proudest moment as a college student was exceeding the expectations of my most feared professor. Yes, in college there are intimidating professors. I guess that goes without saying. This moment in particular, when my professor both pulled me aside and later emailed me of the excellent job I did above any one else in the class on my Senior Research project presentation, let me know that after all of the hard work and anticipation over the assignment, it was done, and done well. It was a relief and a confidence booster. In a way I felt like I beat him and the class.
Here are my final words of wisdom for students who want to get better grades in college: The two keys to success in college are balancing and planning. There is so much to do in college between social events, school events, tests and papers and they all can't be done. The rule I lived by was plan your month, schedule your week, and prioritize your day.
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