How to Power Through College in Five Easy Steps

As a freshman, college life is new and exciting. It's easy to get distracted with friends, parties, clubs, projects and sleep. Like countless others, I made mistakes my first year at Auburn, and as a result I've had to dedicate the last three years to bringing my GPA back up which is easier said than done. Here are a few simple ways to keep up with school so you won't have to play GPA damage control like me.

1. Be realistic when scheduling classes.

If you're not a morning person, and let's face it, who is, do not schedule classes for 8 a.m. unless you have to. Setting goals to wake up early is great, but not when your attendance depends on you keeping those ideal goals. Cramming all your classes into Tuesdays and Thursdays is also an appealing option. If you get lucky enough to do this, make sure you have time to eat on those days. Eating is good.

2. Do not skip class

At some point during the semester, you're going to feel like you've earned a skip day. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you haven't earned anything until your final grades are officially posted on Canvas. Some days are going to be tough, and you're going to be running late. Whether it's because your car broke down, your roommate hogged the bathroom, your alarm didn't go off or you're just feeling slow that day, do not skip class. Showing up late can be embarrassing, but it's better to be late than absent.

3. Participate in class, especially the boring ones.

Not every class is art. Not every class is bowling. Many of the classes you take will be so boring you cannot help but drift off. These classes are usually important to your major. Take notes throughout the entire class and put a special mark beside the points you don't fully understand. After class, walk up to your teacher and ask them to explain those parts in more detail. During the dreadfully boring lecture, don't leave your professor hanging. Speak up and answer their questions. Even if you aren't correct, they will appreciate your effort and you'll be more likely to remember that information. Plus, participating in class makes the time go by faster, so you'll be out of there before you know it.

4. Do the extra credit. All of it.

Not every class offers extra credit opportunities, but many do. Whether it's something little, such as writing a one-page summary or taking a survey for the psychology department, just do it. Some professors will also give bonus points for attending on-campus lectures and seminars. These can take up a little more time and occassionally require you to dress in business casual, but it's worth it. If extra credit is never mentioned, ask your professor if opportunities exist.

5. Be a front-row kid.

On the first day of class you'll notice the students in the front row. They probably have their laptops out, color-coordinated notes and excessive amount of highlighters. These people need to be your friends. Meet them before class, sit with them, text them about homework, study with them during exam weeks, talk to them about the material, compare your notes with theirs and always consider them a potential reference for future jobs. Be a front-row kid. Professors will be pleased by this effort.

Article By: Cat Watson (