Step 1: Decide what you're trying to do in college. (You may need a counselor or other advisor to help with this, but that's why they're there.) Find out exactly how you go about achieving what you want. (What classes are required. Equally important, what classes aren't required. How long will it take you? How much will it cost?) With this information you can see the end of the tunnel. You can see yourself progressing, and you can avoid a lot of "wheel spinning."
Step 2: Make college your job. Don't let the incidental business of earning a living and leading a social life interfere with your central task of getting through school. If something must be neglected (and good planning can usually avoid this), then neglect something other than school. Your job is probably a short-term, dead-end proposition anyway. Don't get bumped out of school just to work 48 hours a week for the minimum wage.
- Real students own their own books, have a suitable place to work, and keep their materials conveniently available.
- Most distractions come from within you. If you have trouble concentrating, try to see what's bothering you and take steps to eliminate it. Most problems yield to direct action, but you must do the acting.
Step 3: Set short-range goals
- Analyze your study task. What do you want to achieve? How can it best be done?
- Set a definite time limit. You can get as much done in one hour as six if you know you must. Work expands to fit the time available.
- Evaluate your success or failure. You can learn best from making mistakes, provided you recognize that they are mistakes.