Did last semester seem to fall through your fingers like a handful of grainy sand? Did you feel like you were failing right from the beginning? Did you find yourself behind on the reading (thanks, summer assignments!) before you even took your seat? Did the sexy trombone player in the next aisle distract you? Or were you simply so eager for lunchtime and the café breadsticks that you couldn’t focus on anything involving letters or numbers? We feel you. But as classes resume, we want you to get off on the right foot. Here are some ideas from smart people with thick glasses to help you and your too-cool-for-school mentality.
1. Stop cheating. We know it’s sort of the teacher’s fault for sitting you next to the dude who's won like every school award ever in every subject because he’s mind-blowing brilliant and beyond regular smart. Your teacher is tempting you to cheat by putting you right next to his 100-percent-correct tests, but do not fall into the trap and copy his answers. Not only will your teacher soon realize that these scores are beyond your mental capabilities, but we’re pretty sure that at some point, you’ll get so lazy you’ll write "James McMahon" where it says NAME, just because that’s what James put, too. Come up with your own answers and start studying.
2. Get into a routine. If you stayed up into the wee hours of the morning looking at pictures of cats, playing World of Warcraft, or sending pictures of your bellybutton to friends, it's likely you wore sweatpants to school the next day and fell asleep by period three. That’s why you need to get yourself on a routine. Here’s our suggestion. After school and school activities, take an hour for yourself to do whatever you want—grab a burger with friends, go on a bike ride, or watch Teen Mom. Then, get your act together. Start your homework and do what’s most important first. Take a break for dinner. If you have more homework, set a time limit and stick to it. If you don’t absolutely need a computer, don’t work on one, because you and we both know you’ll check Facebook at least every 3 seconds. Set a bedtime (we know, this sounds sooooooooo babyish, but it’s actually totally adult and responsible) that gives you enough sleep, so you can wake up early and go over your notes while you eat a nutritious breakfast. You’ll find yourself prepared, refreshed, and wearing less grungy clothes to class.
3. Break bad habits. While your grades from last semester might suggest otherwise, we know you’re not stupid. You realize it’s probably best not to read "The Scarlet Letter" while rocking out to demeaning rap music. You know better than to doodle really lifelike hamburgers in your notebook instead of paying attention to the free answers your teacher is giving you in chemistry (because that’s what teachers do when they lecture—give you their thoughts, aka the answers). You know that studying with a buddy doesn't count if his tongue is down your throat for more than half the session. (It ESPECIALLY doesn’t count if this session takes place in a fogged up car.) Since you know they aren’t effective and aren’t helping you get into college, break these bad habits. Start studying in places like the library or a cool coffee shop. Get yourself away from what’s distracting you so you can concentrate. Maybe if you actually give yourself a better working environment, studying and homework won’t take all night. If you really concentrate, you can hammer out what you need to get done instead of IMing your friends so dirty/so awesome rap lyrics.
4. Sleep with a rabbit’s foot. Or a horseshoe, or a ladybug, or a rainbow. If you'd paid attention to your teacher’s lecture on common symbols of good luck in your lit class, you would know these things are supposed to bring good fortune. You need so much luck it’s sick, and sleeping with these charms really couldn’t hurt your cause.
Got any ideas for your fellow students? What helps you study quickly and efficiently?
Related post: Auntie SparkNotes: No-Study Interjunkie