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Take it from a pro:

The first year of college can (will) be stressful;

tough concepts, new kinds of assignments and term papers that require more cups of coffee than sources. Trying to worry about class while you are busy meeting new friends and adjusting to an entirely new environment would drive anyone to a state of panic. Having a few, solid study strategies can help you stay organized, confident and most importantly: sane.

Talk with your prof

This is rule numero uno. Take it from the veterans in our office, staying in touch with your professor is the key to college success. Consider this: a poor grade can be the result of not fully understanding expectations, assignments or course materials. If you could have done better on a paper by getting extra help or explanation, do it. Don’t be afraid of them, they want you to do well!.

Record your notes

Use a digital voice recorder to record your notes for you to hear back later. It’s a good way to review in the car or before bed

Set up a study group

Memorizing all of those equations can be a bit more enjoyable if you’re doing it with people who are doing the same thing. It’s also a great way to make new friends at the college.

Find your go-to spot

Maybe it’s a sunny spot somewhere on campus, maybe it’s Barnes and Noble, wherever it’s at, find a special spot where you know you are at peace, without any distractions, and where there is silence.

Schedule study time

You will actually learn the material if you pencil in thirty minutes out of your day instead of hassling to study at 3:00 a.m. Schedule in studying just like your class periods are scheduled.

Use memory games

Associating what you have to study with other common words is an awesome way to help your brain remember images instead of a list of things

things you need

We are commuter students. When we leave our homes for the day we need to take our lives with us as there is no running back to the dorm to grab that thing you forgot. Here’s our top backpack must-haves.

 A Starbucks card

Welcome to college, where coffee is your new best friend. COD offers a Starbucks in the SRC and judging by the length of the line everyday, you’re going to be there… a lot. Having a re-loadable Starbucks card will help you save some cash by setting aside a specific amount you are willing to spend on drinks and snacks each month. Plus Starbucks has an awesome rewards program – you may as well benefit from your caffeine cravings! Although you cannot utilize the feature on the campus location, download the Starbucks app to your smart phone to be able to pay for coffee with your mobile at the local Starbucks on your morning commute.

Phone charger

You are going to be using your phone for more than calls and texts while you’re on campus, and guaranteed there will be days that you stay at school way longer than you anticipated. Keep your charger in your backpack for times you need to juice up.


So we’re talking huge monetary commitment but if you can put all of your syllabi and PDFs on here, access Blackboard (and get a lot of Lit class reading for free in the free books app), it’ll make  your college career a whole lot more organized. Plus, you can take notes in class. This investment costs far less than a laptop, and won’t weigh your backpack down.


Yes you still need them. Almost all the tests you take your first semester here will be Scantron so impress your professor and be prepared for class! There are sharpeners in most classrooms but our advice is: go mechanical, use a pencil that doesn’t need to be sharpened all the time.

Mini stapler

SO IMPORTANT. Some professors actually take off points for staple-less papers. If you are turning in a hard copy assignment it needs to be stapled. It can be tough to find one on campus let alone at your house. Throw a mini one in your backpack to make some fast friends.

Notebook/legal pad/computer paper from the library

Don’t be the student that doesn’t have any paper. This seems like an item that doesn’t deem a reminder but you will be surprised. Even if you have a special brain that stores full lectures with your super-powered eyes, come to class looking prepared to give the illusion that you are a stellar student. Side note: your teacher will likely tell you if you need to bring your book to class – no sense in lugging five courses worth of books around campus. If there is any uncertainty, ask your professor the first day of class.

Thumb drive for your keychain

When it comes time to give your first big presentation, professors will love you if you put your power points on a thumb drive instead of trying to download through email or pull up on the internet that conveniently isn’t working that day. Throw one on the key chain you carry with you all the time – you’ll use it for years to come.


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  • Published: 11 months ago on August 26, 2013
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  • Last Modified: August 26, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
  • Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment

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