The Maldita Guide to starting your school year right

"The important thing about going to university is the experience. You can throw yourself into a wide range of things wholeheartedly in a way that is virtually impossible when you have a full-time job - things like debt, manic depression, and canals." » Bluff your way at University by Rob Ainsley

not america's next top best friend
This is my inspiration when I was in school, actually. "This is America's Next Top Model, not America's Next Top Best Friend!" Because sometimes, you should really fight to focus on what you came to school for: Education, and not bad-influence friends!

For my whole life, I didn't get 'school' right. I struggled with studying and social relationships necessary in school. I sucked in high school, and my first attempt at college was even worse. I honestly think that I had PTSD after a silly initiation for a group. When I tried to go to school again, I was calmer, and now I got it right, I graduated Magna cum Laude with little effort at all.

Don't give in to peer pressure. Told all over again but I've learned the hard way. Decide on your convictions. Things like, "You're a loser if you're still a virgin in college" or "You should join us so you would be more accepted" - WHO CARES? It is still better to be alone than be around people you don't like. And people in college actually thought that way about sex before - but the state of your genitals is none of other people's business.

Don't cram. As much as it is tempting to procrastinate, don't, if you want to succeed. So when the deadlines and finals come, you're the one who is unstressed.

Don't be absent as much as possible. Being in class and listening to lectures is what you need to ace quizzes and exams.

Do everything you can to EXEMPT finals exams. Some kind teachers give exemptions if your grades are high enough in previous exams. So study hard in the first exams so one subject is a load off your shoulders when Hell Week comes. Trust me, its a great feeling to walk off, go home, have a celebratory end-of-semester drink (even by yourself) while everyone else is cramming and stressed over their grades and taking the exams. Actually, its rather ADDICTING because you know you deserve it because you did the hard work.

Do your own thing. Who cares if your peers and classmates mock you for it? Someone long ago mocked me for not cramming, she was oh-so-proud of doing things the last minute. I didn't answer. I'm the first name on the Dean's List and I don't pay a cent of my tuition because I'm not cramming, bitch.

Find the best studying technique and use that. This saves enormous time. Some people learn by listening, by reading, or by writing. I learn best by writing, so I made detailed review notes of the things that I only have to study for.

This is my own thing that I don't recommend to everyone (its only because I'm evil and want to concentrate in class more than people) that I do: You went to class to study and learn, not make friends. Some students cut classes to be with their bad-influence friends, some students will only enrol in a class if they have friends there. But for me, If I don't know anyone in class, the better. Instead of gossiping with your friend you can listen to the teacher and actually learn.

For studying, I wholeheartedly recommend that you download and read How to Study by George Fillmore Swain. I wished I read that in college and it helped me so much in studying for the board exams. I topped the board exam, by the way (but I know exam results have nothing to do with real work, but only shows your comprehension of theory).

I'll end with some inspiring quotes:
“You should delight in discovering difficulties which give you an opportunity to test and increase your strength and so avoid future errors. In the same way, examinations should be welcomed, not dreaded. The teacher does not mark you—you mark yourself; the teacher merely records the mark. Even if you fail in the examination, that should indicate to you what you lack, and so be a benefit. Indeed, it is better to fail than to scrape through. There must be a line somewhere. The man just above the line passes, and the man just below the line fails. The former may not be as capable as the latter, but, having passed, he does not remedy his faults; while the man who has failed is required to remedy his.” » How to Study by George Fillmore Swain
"Go to university, but go for the right reasons. Education isn’t a gun held to your head: it’s a weapon in your hands. Go not because you’re afraid of not getting a job but go because you love to learn, because you’re excited by ideas, because you believe that education is important for its own sake, and when you get there, pay attention, read everything you can get your hands on, cram yourself with words and figures and ideas, because that’s the one thing they can never take away from you." » Laurie Penney, The Independent, August 2012

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