1. College is different in many ways from high school. One difference students quickly notice is that they choose their own schedule in college. This newfound independence can be exciting, but it can also present challenges. Many students are used to having their personal schedules set by their parents or their schools.
Students also usually take on more obligations when they enter college, so scheduling your time effectively can be difficult. Here are several factors to consider in choosing your time well and improving your performance in school. First, consider all the daily obligations in your life. If you are a student, classes will obviously be your main obligation.
You will also have to set time aside to study, or else there is little point in going to school. However, most students have many other obligations that go beyond academics. Some students work a part time job to help pay for school. You may also participate in extracurricular activities at your school.
Of course, if you are in a relationship you will need to put time aside to spend with your partner – or you will have an unhappy partner! Likewise, most students have been known to enjoy going to the occasional party. All these obligations quickly add up. It may be helpful to write down each activity and estimate how much time you need to spend on it each day. You will probably be surprised at how much of your time is taken up by all these obligations. Add up all this time, and compare it to the number of hours you are awake each day.
Do not forget to leave a little downtime to relax – spending every waking moment running around busy is not a good idea. You will eventually tire out, and your school performance will suffer as a result. If you are lucky, you will find that you have plenty of time during the day to get everything done. If you have too much time on your hands, you may want to consider joining a club at school, getting a part-time job, or doing something to keep busy. If you are like most students, though, you may find that you barely have enough hours in the day to complete all of your tasks. Of course, do not even think about cutting back on sleep to get more done during the day.
Not sleeping enough will hurt your performance at school, and leave you with little energy for your other activities. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night to stay refreshed. If your activities require more time than you have during the day, try ranking each activity in order of importance to you. Naturally, if you are in school, school should be one of your most important obligations (if it isn’t, you may want to reconsider your reasons for attending school). However, other activities may also be important.
You may need to work at a part-time job in order to pay for school. Depending on your future career, extracurricular activities may also be important. Other obligations, though, are less important. If you have to choose between studying and partying, you probably should choose partying. Socializing is a normal part of going to school, but not when it comes at the expense of your school performance.
Next, look for ways in which you may be able to free up time in your schedule. Some students form study groups with the ostensible goal of preparing for exams, but spend more time socializing with other members of the group than actually studying. Studying by yourself for 30 minutes may actually be more effective than studying for 90 minutes with a study group. Not only will you be better prepared for class, but you will have freed up an hour during the day. You should also look into ways to rearrange your class and work schedules to possibly free up more time. Of course, you should also consider how you are already performing in school.
If you are already getting good grades, there is no need to make drastic changes in your daily schedule. A few tweaks may be helpful in freeing up more time, but you should generally continue on the right path. However, if you are struggling in school you should be more open to completely reconfiguring your schedule. Many students struggle because they are spending too much time on relatively unimportant activities, and not enough time on basic activities like studying. Keeping your focus on the important activities is the best way to boost your school performance.
Brain Diets for Students
2. Many students pay little attention to the food that they eat in college. These students are used to having their parents cook for them as children, and have spent no time thinking about a balanced diet. This can lead to several problems. Most students have heard about the term “Freshman 15.” This refers to the 15 pounds that freshmen often gain as a result of being away from home for the first time and not eating properly.
However, not eating properly can lead to other problems as well. Scientists have concluded that a well-balanced diet is essential to optimizing brain activity. Since college obviously requires students to think carefully and clearly, optimizing brain activity is an important consideration. Unfortunately, many students do not eat well-balanced diets in college.
Not only can this lead to an unwanted weight gain, this can also result in decreased brain activity. Of course, the result of this is lower grades. There are no “magic foods” that cause students to become smarter.
Instead, stick to a normal balanced diet. Many students make the mistake of eating one or two of their favorite meals over and over again. These meals are often not healthy to begin with, and constantly eating them only makes things worse. There is nothing wrong with occasionally eating pizza or other junk foods, as long as they are a small part of a balanced diet. A healthy diet obviously needs more than pizza and junk food, though. Protein is an important part of a healthy brain diet. Protein-rich foods contain amino acids, which are vital for neurotransmitter production.
There are two types of proteins – animal and vegetable proteins. Milk, fish, eggs, and poultry are several examples of animal proteins, and they are all great foods for the brain. However, these animal proteins also contain a lot of saturated fat, so they should be eaten only in moderation. Some vegetable proteins include nuts, beans, and whole grains. To maximize the effects on the brain, balancing proteins with carbohydrates is a great idea. Carbohydrates contain glucose, which works as fuel for the brain. Some foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates are whole grains, fruit, cereal, and vegetables. These foods contain fiber and minerals, so they are good for the body as well as the brain.
However, consuming too much glucose will result in increased blood sugar levels. This often results in weight gains, so combining carbohydrates with proteins with every meal is important to counteract this. Of course, fats are a normal part of a healthy diet as well. For many students, this is the one part of the food pyramid that they have no problem with. Consuming an adequate amount of fatty acids is important for the brain, but too much obviously results in gaining weight.
To balance this, try avoiding processed foods and fast foods. Stick to natural animal products, especially fish. Fish products contain omega-3 fatty acids, which serve to help transmit brain signals. In fact, many scientists believe that fish oils may be the healthiest food for the brain.
Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids help brain development in infants. Salmon and sardines are several fish products that contain a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids. Doctors also believe that these foods help prevent against depression and other mental health issues. Some college students suffer from depression when leaving home for the first time, so a diet containing Omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to prevent this. Obviously, fish is not a typical part of many students’ diets. Unfortunately, many students consume a lot of trans fats and saturated fats. Foods containing these fats have been shown to negatively affect brain activity.
It is probably not realistic to expect students to completely eliminate their intake of trans fats. Buying fast food is easy, and making actual full-course meals is time-consuming. Most students are busy enough as it is, and do not have the time to prepare healthy meals. However, consuming trans fats as rarely as possible is healthy for the brain. Students spend hours studying for classes, but rarely consider the effect that their diet has on brain activity. Often, making a few changes to your diet will produce great results. Many students skip breakfast, so simply having a bowl of cereal and some milk in the morning will help. In other cases, eating a small snack in the middle of the day will help you avoid overeating at dinner.
Students interested in maximizing brain activity may want to consider completely overhauling their diet. For most students, though, even these small changes will be healthy for the brain.
Relationships and Studying: Find the Right Balance
Like school, relationships demand a lot of time and effort. Finding the right balance between schools and relationships is not always easy. Ideally, your partner should provide support for you as you pursue your studies. Good relationships can be emotionally uplifting, and can help you get through difficult moments at school. However, even the best relationships can potentially serve as a distraction from your studies.
Many students begin their first serious relationships at the same time they enter college, and it can become difficult to balance the two. In trying to keep the right balance, here are several factors to consider. The most obvious issue is communication. Communication is important in building successful relationships, and it is also important in balancing your relationship with other aspects of your life.
Ideally, your partner should know what your educational goals are, and support you as you pursue these goals. Dating another student can help with this, as long as your partner is as committed to school as you are. Even if your partner is not a student, though, they need to appreciate the importance of education. If your partner is complaining that you spend too much time studying instead of being with them, this is a sign that problems lie ahead.
This leads into the second important issue to consider – time management. Studying for school requires a great time commitment. Relationships require a great time commitment as well. Balancing the two can be extremely difficult. Studying all the time and ignoring your partner is not a good idea if you wish to maintain your relationship.
On the other hands, ignoring your studies to spend all your time with your partner doesn’t make any sense either. A good partner will understand and appreciate this dilemma. Keeping the proper balance between school and your relationship requires you to manage your time well. Setting specific times to study and perhaps a specific night to spend time with your partner is a good idea. Students also need to think about the relative importance that they place on their education and their relationships. If you expect to go to graduate school or to get a great job after you graduate, you will need to earn excellent grades. This will require you to spend more time studying than normal.
On the other hand, if you are in a serious relationship but have little interest in school, you may want to consider taking a break from school. Taking classes you have no interest in is a waste of time and money. Hopefully, your partner will understand your situation and will support you in your decisions.
If they don’t, then you may not have the right partner. Flexibility is also important in keeping the right balance between school and relationships. In school, there will inevitably be times when your plans change. On a day-to-day level, you may have to cancel a night out with your partner because a professor assigned a last-minute paper. On a deeper level, you may find that your career goals change as you progress through college. Your partner should understand this and support you throughout these changes.
While balancing school and relationships can be difficult, relationships do not necessarily have to have a negative effect on your studies. College can be a stressful time for many students. Your partner can help provide emotional support for you as you go through school. If your partner is a student as well, they can serve as a study partner. A good relationship can give you a sense of purpose. Sometimes, your partner can also serve as a source of motivation. Trying to balance school and relationships can actually help you learn more about your partner. Does your partner support you in your studies? Do they encourage you to finish studying before going out? If they do, then this shows that you partner is looking out for your best interests.
This is a great trait in a partner. On the other hand, if your partner complains that you spend too much time studying, this may be a sign that your partner cares more about themselves than about you. Obviously, this is not a good trend for your relationship. Many dating experts believe that you learn more about your partner in stressful times then you do when everything is going well. Focusing on school can actually encourage you to get out of a bad relationship quickly before your grades are affected.
On the other hand, being in a positive relationship can encourage you to do even better in school. While balancing school and relationships can be difficult, it is a great way to learn more about yourself and about your partner.