Study habits can either make or break semester

All throughout my senior year of high school, I kept hearing the same thing from just about all my teachers: “The workload of college is going to be much worse than high school.” They also recommended that I start getting into good habits like not procrastinating and studying for tests multiple days in advance.

I did not take any of this advice. I kept waiting until the last minute for a good majority of my assignments, and saved all my studying for the night before the test. In my mind, I just figured that I would change my habits when freshman year of college started.

I did not do this either. I can say that for most of freshman year, I did not really feel the pressure that was foretold by just about every adult I had encountered over the summer. While there was a good amount to do, I also was not doing any sports or serious extracurriculars, so I had plenty of time to get everything I needed to get done done, and still had ample amounts of time to goof off and procrastinate.

At this point, I naively figured that this wwas what all of college was going to be like, and that everyone who had warned me about the pitfalls of procrastination was highly exaggerating their stories.

Unfortunately, as I have found out this semester while taking human gross anatomy, I could not have been more wrong.

The gross lecture and lab that all physician assistant majors are required to take have completely changed how I have to go about my entire college experience.

Considering just about the entire class is brute force memorization, it is completely impossible to just put studying off for even a couple of days. As soon as the information is presented to us, we have to put it down in our notes and make sure it sticks in our brains.

Being in a state of constant studying has been an uphill battle for me from the beginning of the semester. For the first couple of weeks of classes this August, I would go about what I had done freshman year when I got home after classes. I would grab a snack, sit down in front of the television and watch a couple episodes of “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother,” do the most pressing assignments as their due dates came up, and go to bed without giving gross much of a thought.

This soon became an issue when the first exam began to quickly approach, and I realized how much I still needed to learn.

In an effort to lessen my pre-test anxiety that I experienced before the first exam, I have made trips to the library, writing out my notes on a whiteboard, and study groups are a part of my daily routine. While this definitely helps a lot, there still never seems to be enough time in the day. But, I am constantly finding different ways that I can improve my comprehension of the material, and am slowly but surely making my way through the course.

Needless to say, this semester has been a trial by fire in the importance of studying for exams well in advance. To any freshman reading this, I implore you to take my advice and start developing good study habits sooner rather than later. It may be a pain in the short term, but it is absolutely worth it and essential in the long run.


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