1. Create a comfortable living space. Decorating your room at college doesn’t have to be all about function. Your dorm room should be a place where you’re comfortable and happy — a place that is conducive to studying but also feels relaxing. Do this without breaking the bank by adding accents like throw pillows in your favorite color on the bed, a cozy patterned rug to make it feel more like home, and framed posters to display your interests and passions without looking sloppy.
2. Take care of yourself with sleep and exercise. Start an exercise routine to help you concentrate more in class and relieve some of the stress of studying. Plan ahead and schedule time to exercise 3x/week before, between, or after classes, whether that means jogging with a friend or lifting weights at the gym. While exercise is important, sleep is key to staying on track. It’s tempting to pull an “all-nighter” in college, but without enough sleep, you won’t be at the top of your game when you take that big test. So not worth it!
3. Set up systems for success. Although cramming for a test last minute might sound exciting, it’s not, trust us! According to a 2012 UCLA study (could we link to it?), students learn the best and retain the most information when they consistently study over a longer period of time. Try creating a calendar at the beginning of each semester with important dates like tests, papers, and finals. Review the calendar at the beginning of each month so you’re prepared for what’s coming down the line.
4. Get social. While your studies should always be your number one priority in college, the memories you’ll be left with will be the ones outside of the classroom, so make them count! Need some ideas? Try joining a club or an intramural sports league, tutoring high school students in a subject that you’re an expert in, or planning a weekend potluck picnic with a big group of friends.
5. Snack smart. You may not even notice that afternoon slump while you’re literally running between classes, but once you relax, your body and brain will both get the message. For moments like these, be sure to stash convenient, energizing snacks in your backpack and desk drawers at all times.
Skip the sugary junk and go for high-quality munchies that provide protein and/or fiber. Both help stabilize your blood sugar levels, which keeps you feeling full and focused for the long haul. No-fuss, portable pieces of fruit (apples, oranges, peaches, plums, bananas) and, of course, Nourish Snacks are great options at all hours, and they’ll satisfy sweet cravings without the guilt.