As summer starts to fade away and the school year looms ahead, one thing is certain: on the other side, waiting for all of us, will be readings, classes, readings and more readings. First year can be particularly stressful and uncomfortable because of these things, but have no fear for we have created a list of study tips that aren’t blatantly obvious or frustratingly impossible.

1.) Get your syllabus, read your syllabus, love your syllabus … Hell, go frolic in a daisy-filled meadow with your syllabus. Yes, it may have been an utter sham in high school, but in university that tiny booklet that is handed out in every course will be your detailed roadmap of every reading, every quiz and every deadline for the entire semester. Ignore it at your own risk.

2.) Map out your homework for the week on paper but, in doing this, be realistic. If you have every single moment of your waking hours filled with readings, in my nonprofessional opinion, I’m pretty sure your head will explode. Be honest and reward yourself with good behaviour. For every hour of studying, you should have an hour of personal or fun time.

3.) Attend classes and listen. Teachers will often tell you which readings aren’t so important, whether the exam is more about the lecture notes than the readings and other crucial tidbits. Write these down and follow them. Honestly, it makes life a million times easier. If you choose to intentionally skip, or ‘blow that popsicle stand,’ as all the cool cats are saying now, you may miss information that could save you from hours of arduous toiling later.

4.) Make study notes. I don’t care if it’s one line per page, saying things like: “Rousseau ate paper as a child and put in purple highlights to show everyone else just how angsty and brooding he was.” These will help you later. When you read a million texts, it’s incredibly easy to get them mixed up. Avoid the amnesia with a few labeled points.

5.) Work smarter, not harder. If you know three trustworthy people in the same class as you (I stress the word trustworthy), why not share the readings? It will make time go by more quickly and when the exam rolls around, you’ll have two other study buddies which makes staying on task easier.

6.) Finally, be confident. Avoid the worry and the tears, stand up straight, and know that if you want to, you can do it. Some people get overwhelmed and frightened, but sitting around and fretting won’t get you that A++, champ (by the way, they don’t actually give those out). So, hit the books without hesitation!

And hey, chill out – it’s just school. Remember that the purpose of university is to grow and evolve as a person, and you can’t damn well do that with your nose stuck in a book 24/7. Godspeed, friends!

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