TwentyTweets College Vocab Series: Hit the Books

If there’s one thing that post-grads can all agree on, it’s that four (or more) years of college fly by WAY too quickly. One day, you’re finding your way around campus, and before you know it, you’re walking across stage to receive your diploma. Where did the time go?!

Here on TwentyTweets, we love to reminisce. Who doesn’t? College is your first taste of true freedom; it’s the time to make mistakes, and it’s the time to learn from them. With that said, there’s a whole list of things that we all wish we knew before arriving on our very first day. Together, Brittni, Jenna, and I have compiled a list of all the things that college freshmen could and should know before they even begin. Together, we can teach them how to not sleep through early classes, fail exams, puke at parties, or get kicked out of dorms. After all, no one knows college like recent grads do, right? 😉

Today, tomorrow, and Friday, we will provide a list of must-know’s to survive the best four years of your life. Today’s installment: Hit the books!

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Half.com:  Accept the fact that you’re going to get royally ripped off at the beginning of every semester. Over $150 for a book you could never even open?  Get ready to buy it.  Fortunately, if you’re able to get your book list a few days early (or can last the first week or so before you actually need them), you can find most college textbooks for sale online. You can literally save hundreds of dollars each semester by using websites like Half.com and AbeBooks. When the semester ends, put your books up for sale and get at least some of your money back!

Syllabus: This is your Bible. Professors give out their class syllabi on the first day of class and expect you to read it. They may or may not announce assignments and exams because they’ve already told you all of the dates for the entire semester. So keep it, frame it, even sleep with it, if you want.

Planner:  If you’re taking five classes, you’re going to have at least five syllabi. Get organized right away and write them down all in one place. This makes it easy to see what’s coming up and can help you plan ahead if you have an extraordinarily busy week.

Office Hours: Time that professors dedicate to being at your beck and call. This is the time to get extra help, to ask about a paper grade, and to receive some extra mentoring from the folks who have connections out there in the “real world.”

Email Salutations:  If there’s one thing that I learned in college, it’s that professors HATE when students send them an email without a salutation. Or even worse, when you do include a salutation, and it’s “Hey.” Remember, you’re not writing a letter to your friends; you’re becoming a grown-up and it’s time to start acting a little more professionally.

Study: Speaking of “hitting the books,” there will be a million different ways to approach every test or exam. You will need to find your studying niche yourself. Some common ways include flash cards, study guides, study groups, repetition, practice, review sessions, and more. Each type of class will differ, as well. If you foresee yourself freaking out over an upcoming exam, reach out to your professor (See above: Office Hours). The professor made the exam, so the answer on how to ace it lies in his or her hands. Another way to calm your nerves? Strength in numbers…

Class Friends: You’re going to come across many different types of people during your years in college. Once you decide on a major, you’ll start to see some of the same, familiar faces each semester. Some of these classmates will become more important than you think. Making friends in class is HUGE. You’re not obligated to hang out with these people outside of your study group (unless you create a bond like the three of us did!!), but their brainpower may become a valuable resource. Strength in numbers, like we said. Don’t be afraid to get to know those around you on your first couple days. You could end up with a friendship that you’ll value far beyond the ones you made at some keg party the night before… Or at least a better grade on that final exam!

Library: In high school, you may have only gone to the library when you had some research project to complete. In college, this place may or may not become a second home. Avoid the temptations of going out every night and find your own go-to spot in the lib. You’ll be surprised at how many others you’ll know cramming away on the third floor.

Sleep: You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh,” but just like we said, there are a lot of temptations in college. You may feel the need to pull one of those infamous all-nighters that all the “cool kids” are doing. Our advice? Don’t do it! Managing time in college includes managing sleep-time as well. Forget studying all night – what are you really absorbing during those early hours of the morning anyways? Realistically, you’re going to lose some sleep thanks to some procrastination (hey, we’ve all been there), but a few hours of shut-eye really will make you feel refreshed. Wake up early, get a Venti iced latte, and head to the library for some pre-class review. It might not be the most recommended way to study, but it is better than getting no Zzz’s at all!

Excused Absences: Everyone’s favorite part of class? Not quite. Most professors understand that life happens and that people really do get sick, have a personal emergency, etc. Excused absences are usually spelled out on your syllabus and don’t count against your final grade. While it may seem tempting to use these every Friday after a successful (or maybe not so successful) Thirsty Thursday, don’t waste them! You’ll regret it when you actually are sick (hangovers not included), and you’ve already used up all of your excused absences. Remember that at the end of the day, professors control your grades. Some may be a little more lenient, but their final decision probably depends on attendance, class participation, etc. Final piece of advice: just go to class. 🙂

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s segment! We’ll spill all the secrets on how to have a memorable and fun campus experience.

~E

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4 Responses to TwentyTweets College Vocab Series: Hit the Books

  1. Brittany says:

    I like what you said about getting sleep… sometimes staying up all night ends up being counter-productive! The library, the planner… all necessities to learn about early on! 🙂

  2. Gianna says:

    I’m just discovering Twenty Tweets for the first time. This is some great advice. Thank you!

  3. ErikaAnn says:

    We’re happy to have you, Gianna! Thank you!!

  4. College Students should resort to Renting Textbooks vs Buying, There are several textbook sites that provide this option, Major Players like Amazon, Half, Chegg have bough back books from Students. In the 2011 to 2012 school year, the average college student spent $600 a semester on textbooks. Students should always select renting close to their campus as the transaction and cost savings are very competitive to Online Textbook sites.

    http://www.cheaptextbooksseller.com
    http://www.abetextbooks1.com

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