How To Survive Class

Let me start of this post by saying that I have not always had the best study/work habits. You saw that dude at the cafe or quad that has four notebooks, three textbooks, two iPhones, and one pencil frantically cramming as much information into his skull all at once because the midterm is in 5 minutes. Hi, I was that guy and I’m honestly surprised that I haven’t flunked out or just dropped this whole college thing altogether. But I’m still here, for better or worse, and I have definitely learned from my mistakes so you won’t have to. Here is my advice for being an academically successful student at UW-Madison.


Let me tell you some honest, blunt, “I’m not here to be soft on you” advice. If you choose to forego being on top of your work, which means always planning days and even weeks ahead of due dates and test times so you can go have fun or relax YOU ARE ASKING TO FAIL. Don’t start having a pity party because your stressed that you didn’t study for your midterm when all you were doing was lollygagging. Now is the time for you take make priorities and realize that someone is paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for you to be here, act like it.


You ever heard that the mind and body are one? Well, you’ll learn that when you break down after months of school work if all you do is lounge around and eat garbage. The serotonin your body realizes after working out is better than any other recreational activity you can do to unwind. I can not tell you how good it felt to go for a run after a big midterm. Also, exercising keeps your brain tactful and aware which is crucial for being a student at a big 10 school. Furthermore, stop being lazy and cook yourself something healthy. Convenient food is not always the best for you. Eating instant ramen, junk food, and greasy meals day in and day out will totally have you spiraling out of control. You can fuel your body with garbage and expect to work like a Farrari.


Yes, when you are seriously digging deep into some of your classes and preparing for your exams, having coffee at your fingertips sounds like a good idea. THE CAFE IS NOT THE PLACE THOUGH. I understand that might come as a disappointment to some of you (especially those who have done it in the past) but I’m just being honest with you. When you’re taking classes that require your full and undivided attention, the number of excess noises, people, and smells will surely be your downfall if you choose to study here. Find a quiet place if not your dorm to study, might I suggest the LIBRARY?


One thing that I don’t think is emphasized enough when thinking about what you will be doing when you arrive here, is joining a club. Being able to find yourself amongst other peers with common interests is truly an amazing experience. Not only will you make quality friends, but you will also be treading the waters of what might really interest you. Me? I joined a frat, a photography club, and the Hoofer club. Trust me, picking an organization that resonates with you and fosters your aspirations and values will serve you in the long term. Most importantly, students who join clubs/organizations or more likely to succeed in their classes FYI.

I hope that some of my advice helps with your experience here at UW-Madison, it would be the advice I would have given myself when I was in your shoes.

Badger Boats | Sail boats lined up and ready for Lake Mendot… | Phil Roeder  | Flickr

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