Another semester is well underway, and if you stumbled last semester, you may have doubts about how to be successful this semester and the mountains of work coming at you like a high-speed train. Freshman, senior, or anywhere between, here are some lifesaving college survival tips and a life jack to keep your head above water and save you from drowning.

Attend all your classes. This should be a no-brainer. By attending classes, you will absorb the material that will reappear on quizzes or tests. However, some students feel they can miss classes and be successful. This is not true. Even if you are not paying for your schooling, it is extremely expensive to those who are. College is much different than high school. In college, you are not hand-fed information, and professors will not move you through just so you can pass and move on.

Put the cell phone away. You will live for an hour even if you are not connected to the rest of the world. The world will not end if you miss a text from a friend or significant other. This is also true for the laptop. Taking notes by hand is better than burning up the keyboard on your computer. Too many distractions with streaming, music, internet sites and games can ruin your focus in the classroom. There is a time and place to socialize and play games or stream movies and music. That time is not while you are in class. Let’s be honest; your professors will know. They will not point a finger at you, but they can see everything that is going on, even if you are in the back of the classroom.

Participate and sit in the front. Removing distractions is a great way to be an active listener and a way to do that is sitting up front. Sitting in the front adds other bonuses too. For example, it is easier to see what your professor is presenting, whether that is a PowerPoint or notes on a dry erase board.

Talk to your professors. Your professors are human, and they care about their students. So keep in touch with them by comparing schedules and finding a time to meet regularly. That could be right after your class or during their office hours. If those times don’t work, send a quick email to set up a time to meet and discuss the material. Don’t lie to your professors. Making up projects or tests only works if you make them up.

Limit your extracurricular activities. Every college student longs for friends and relationships on campus that will last a lifetime. College students also need to release stress and talk to friends about their classes or participate in an activity on campus by joining a club. One club is fine. However, once you start adding responsibilities on top of your already jam-packed college schedule, time flies by and then time to study seems to disappear. Once you are behind, it is challenging to catch up. If you are an athlete, your time to socialize will be even more limited. Balancing athletics and studies is difficult. Balancing athletics, studies and clubs is even worse.

Reduce stress, and make time to relax. Life is all about balance–even after college. Go for a walk, rollerblade, lift weights, bike, draw, journal, meditate or read a book for fun. Find a relaxing, creative outlet, and enjoy some downtime. This will keep you healthy, and by keeping your stress levels down, you’ll sleep better and establish a different, more relaxing vibe to college
life. Your activity does not have to be expensive, and you do not have to join a gym with a monthly payment. Walk around campus, for example. Find what you like that makes you happy, and do it responsibly.

Learn your habits for studying. Use time management. Figure out where and how to study. Not everyone is a morning person, wide awake and raring to go at 8 a.m. Some are night owls and do better in night classes. Make sure your college schedule reflects that in the best way. There will be that one semester that you must take the 8 a.m. or 7 p.m. class. You will live and may even learn something about yourself that you didn’t already know.

Treat school like you would a job. This is your future career. Are you attending classes? Are you on time? Are you completing projects? In real life, you must participate and go to work. What you are doing now helps you become successful in the future. If you are skipping classes because you do not feel like going, what does that say to your future boss?

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