Hey Amigo!

I feel you when you ask questions like, “How do I succeed in college?” or “How can I get better grades?” or “I’m not inspired. How can I motivate myself to study?” In this article, I’ll be giving you practical study tips and everything else you need to know to become a great college student.

But first, let me say: Congratulations! All the running around, waiting in queues, collecting mark sheets and shortlisting colleges have paid off and colleges have pretty much commenced. Bravo!

Let’s teleport into your future for a bit. You see, even the dumbest of persons will be excited to glance through new textbooks these days because one – they smell good and two, they have plenty of fresh place for artistic caricature of your prof. In the beginning, you’ll love college because it’s new, and fancier than school. But this doesn’t last longer than a month.

From what I see, over time, your zeal about college pretty much dies out and then, no one likes studying any longer. All the ‘I’m-going-to-college’ butterflies will have suddenly choked and died. You bunk classes for a quick bite, and prefer a dungeon over history class. Then, the semester monster appears. Everyone is afraid and eventually disappointed with the results. Then you go to a Saturday night party, get wasted to console your stupidity.

Later that week, you realize it’s your fault and resolve to study 24 times 7. But you never do fulfill that promise! The next week, you find yourself doing an all-nighter with eyes that anybody could mistake for baby tomatoes. This goes on and on and you never seem to get any better than what you were doing in school. And slowly, you let your grades define your worth, and end up feeling more disheartened and mediocre. You actually start to think of yourself as average and a good for nothing. You basically just repeat your previous series of unfortunate events and it goes on and on. But, let me tell you: Your future is a result of what you choose to do in the present.

Let me tell you: Your future is a result of what you choose to do in the present. Click To Tweet

So, I brought you 19 little things to practice and help you get out of this foolish rut and become a fulfilling student at college.

1- Wake up early: Even if you can literally jump into your classroom from your dorm window, wake up on time. Don’t be a lazy bone or snooze. Wake up, start fresh. Let the early morning sun hit your face. Maybe exercise a little bit. Waking early also makes you tired throughout the day, leading to a much better sleep routine as well. Not waking up on time makes everything delayed and messy. You, very easily are prone to leave tasks incomplete, or procrastinate, only because you feel drained and tired. And that won’t get you anywhere. If you want to create your own morning routine, check this

2- Pray or meditate: Our mindsets and attitudes are more important than the grades and certifications we achieve. Which is why, time spent in prayer and silent meditation is the key to handling issues like peer pressure, lots of homework, arguments with other students or professors, feeling lonely or stressed, etc.

Here’s an important statement: face God before facing the world. Let the entire day be surrendered to God before doing anything else and watch the difference. You will be blessed with more tolerance, more peace of mind, more kindness and politeness, more efficiency and more positivity to get through the day. Even if problems arise, you will not lose your peace and will have the wisdom to figure out the best possible solution. Spend about half an hour each day in prayer or meditation. Sing psalms or hymns or read the Bible. I usually read the gospel for that respective day followed by meditation and a time of praise and worship. 

Face God before facing the world. Click To Tweet

3- Plan the day: If you know me, you know I’m a huge planner of everything. Waking up early leaves you with about an extra hour or two. Use that time to plan the day. Put on paper all your daily weekly tasks. In your timetable, fit these tasks along with the assignments, the homework and your self-study time as well. Also, add your chores like dishwashing, laundry, cooking, etc. Planning will help you complete assignments, homework and also study just in time. Putting stuff on paper can increase your productivity by 80% and you’re more likely to complete what you wrote in there because trust me, it feels like on top of the world when your to-do list is all ticked off at the end of the day!

girl writing in a planner on a desk

4- Eat healthy: Just because you’re a college student and your mom accidentally or whatever, decided to increase your pocket money does not mean you visit KFC every two days. Seriously, your parents didn’t send you to college to swallow chicken wings twenty-eight times a month. Please eat healthy, so that you can study effectively whilst also not compromising on those muscles you want to show off with. Raw vegetables and lots of fruits can surprisingly help you with energy when it comes to doing everything that your course demands of you. Also, drink lots of water. Please look up videos and quotes to stay motivated to eating healthy because 60% of our Instagram explore pages show us pictures of spicy grilled chicken and salty, golden potato fries and big cheeseburgers and cute Italian guys tossing pizzas like a game of Frisbee.  Don’t fall for that.

5- Choose the right kind of friends: Now, this counts as another major thing that leads to balance. We don’t want to be the nerds and goofs of the batch. So it is good that you play, talk and socialize, go to events, parties, games, with the right people. Make a lot of friends with people that are like you. Also make friends that are seemingly different than you. Have meaningful conversations that always teach you something new. Every human has to tell you something you never heard before if only you have the patience and the skills to listen.

At the same time, you don’t have to be friends with someone that constantly cheats, manipulates, bullies and is toxic for you. Please stay away from negative people who stop you from being better at academics and at life. College is a secular environment in terms of types of people and everyone isn’t going to be as innocent and lighthearted as you. Stay shrewd, but not suspicious. Get to know people. I remember this one time that I made friends with a senior of mine. I stopped being shy, talked with her and eventually, she invited me to go to an international short film festival that she was attending. How cool is that!

four friends trekking on a mountain having fun

6- Prioritize: If you decide to study for the test next week, don’t say yes to a party only because that cute guy from biology class will be there. Don’t let games night, movie night, fortnight or any night stop you from doing what you decide to do. But, if you don’t place things right, you will have no firm will. See what’s most important to you. Act, and take decisions accordingly. Put in line of most importance your friends, family, social media, study and rest. Oh, and learn to say no.

7- Teach others: When I was in school, many friends of mine came to me with a concept they didn’t understand or a diagram they wanted me to draw in their notebook because they couldn’t. I’d do it always. To my surprise, the concepts that I taught and the diagrams that I drew stuck in my head and I never had to study them. “While we teach, we learn.” – Seneca. It’s obvious. Help others if they need help and be kind. If you’re intelligent and capable, share notes or other things to help other students. It is showing the love of Jesus to them in little ways.

“While we teach, we learn.”


8- Make your own notes: Smart people love libraries. Taking and making notes in the library is an excellent way to study better. When you produce your own notes, they are in the format you need. They are designed to be in the form that you can best relate with. It helps you remember better. Also while in class, it is advisable to write short notes consisting of important points and references. If you are a master at your notes, no test is ever difficult. For the most part, avoid borrowing notes from classmates (guilty) and take pains to produce your own notes.

9- Find time for hobbies: They say real values are learnt on the playground. I’m not asking you to play sports if that’s not what you’re into. I completely understand because I suck at it too. But you should definitely listen to music, learn a different language, develop a skill, or take some course you’re really interested in.

You don’t want to be a nerd sucking book knowledge all day long. Learn to be an interesting person and allow yourself to learn new things, find new amusements, make mistakes and develop. Trust me, the only skill you learn at your workplace is tolerating the most annoying customers, coming up with lies to tell your boss and craftily developing sentences to hint you want a raise. This is the right time to explore the rest of your hidden identities. You can find the ultimate list of exciting hobbies here

college student  playing games

10- Find your most productive time: Ever wondered how Mr. Topper has time for church, games, party, gym, salon and family? Well, everyone’s different and while John studies great in the afternoons, Suzy may have a tough time even keeping her eyes open for two minutes straight. What I’m saying is, find the time you feel most fresh in the day. Use that time for the most important tasks like playing video games on your computer. Just kidding, for studies! This one little trick can save you from hours of unproductive study time. Two hours of studying at the best time can deliver more results than a whole day of studying. That way, you’re kept with more time for other activities. Watch this video of Jay Shetty to find out the best time of the day for you.

11- Study smart, not hard: Sometimes, the entire book isn’t to be studied. Most concepts, theorems don’t weigh as much as others. Be alert with the syllabus, study what’s most important. Check the paper pattern. Pay attention in class. Use little tricks to memorize content, and study smarter. Google has all the tactics these days. Look em up!

12- Make a timetable: If you don’t have one already, make a solid timetable. Note everything you have to do daily and make a place for it in your schedule. Be wise, keep it realistic and achievable. Overall, follow what you decided. Manage your time effectively and your life will suddenly be more put together and efficient. Really, you’re better at following rules than you think you are!

13- Chunk: Often, the start of study is difficult because 200 pages seem impossible. But, it always seems impossible until it’s done. I recommend you slice your studies into little bits. Do a little every day and in no time, it will be over. Say, you’ve that really huge chapter to study. It has thirty different concepts and it is tormenting you. Just do six concepts each day by doing one each hour. Is one concept difficult to study in an hours’ time? I don’t think so!

14- Concentrate in class: This one’s obvious. The professors aren’t professors for nothing. Pay attention to the teaching in class and half the effort of study time is over. It is really not as complicated as you think it is!

professor teaching, writing on a whiteboard

15- Read your textbooks and notes every day: Read today what they taught in the class, today itself. Don’t let it pile up and become a burden at the end. Reading textbooks every day is easy. It helps you retain what you learned and it is way easier to memorize. In this way, nothing you heard in class vanishes from your head.

16- Keep your space clean: The room in which you study, has an effect on your mind. Please make sure it is not messy or untidy. Don’t leave stinky underwear or socks lingering on the bed. Pile your books in order. Put your stuff in the right place. A tidy room makes you want to study. Let everything look clean and empty. This makes you feel better and then has an effect on your mind’s capacity to study.

17- Don’t study for long hours altogether: Studying many hours in a row only decreases your will to study and increases the boredom. Take breaks, especially when you don’t feel like studying. You may use the Pomodoro technique. Look it up. In the breaks you take from study, don’t bring in distractions like checking your phone, or taking a nap (you cannot fight that temptation). Look at nature, or think about something else – the goal is to stop studying from the textbook and putting your mind elsewhere for a little bit.

student studying in a cafe

18- Find your why: If you don’t have a solid reason to put in hard efforts and get good grades, your motivation will crumble when the going gets tough. Find deep inside of you why you want to study in college and where do you see yourself five or ten years from now. If you want to build a secure future, change society for the better, give your parents the luxuries they sacrificed because of you, then those are some reasons you can keep before you whenever you feel like quitting. Copying someone else’s goals don’t help, by the way. Find yours!

19- Discipline > Motivation: Some days, you feel motivated. You’re all charged up and ready to sit in the library for the next four hours. But there are other days when you just don’t feel like getting out of bed, or even starting to study. There’s an important lesson here. Motivation doesn’t always work. Discipline does. Make good habits for life here in college. Study even when you don’t feel like it. Just start and you’ll see the boredom goes away almost immediately. It’s only the start that is difficult. So, do it nevertheless. And if you need heavy motivation at all, check out this YouTube Channel

Now you’re ready to go to college, Amigo! Thank me later.