Nervous about tackling college academics? It can be intimidating—tougher classes, a more demanding exam schedule, an increased workload—but that’s why it’s important to decide now what kind of study “persona” you will adopt. Check out the pros and cons of four popular approaches to college-level coursework.
The Constant Studier…
- Takes immaculate notes
- Reviews the day’s lesson after every class
- Prefers independent study and hates to be interrupted
Pros: The Constant Studier maintains an excellent GPA, and his ability to retain information is astounding. When it comes to independent projects and research, he’s your guy.
Cons: Ever heard that saying, “No man is an island”? Sure, studying is crucial to college success, but so is learning to interact within and draw insight from a group. Good social habits will continue to be a career asset long after graduation.
- Never knows which chapters are currently being covered
- Can be found poring over texts immediately before an exam
- Frequently pulls “all-nighters”
Pros: The Crammer has mastered the ability to think on her feet. Her fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants attitude helps her transition quickly from one train of thought to the next, and she knows a little bit about a lot of different subjects.
Cons: The Crammer’s grades are hit-or-miss, and because she only exercises her memory in sporadic, high-tension instances, she retains very little of the information covered in class.
The Teacher’s Pet…
- Occupies multiple teacher’s assistant positions
- Stays after class to ask about extra credit and additional readings
- Attends faculty functions and calls instructors at home to prep for upcoming exams
Pros: Professors at the college level are often seen more as mentors and peers than authority figures; therefore, the Teacher’s Pet can benefit from maintaining deeper intellectual friendships with his professors and taking an active part in campus administration.
Cons: His motives could be seen as superficial by his peers—and maybe even by the teachers he’s shadowing. Buddying up with the instructor will only get the Teacher’s Pet so far before he’ll have to put forth the real effort that it takes to succeed.
- Loves to organize study dates and group projects
- Frequently initiates full-classroom discussions
- Prioritizes social engagements and extracurricular activities over study time
Pros: Engaging and popular, the Socialite is experiencing all that college has to offer—she plays lacrosse, belongs to a sorority, performs onstage, serves as a resident advisor, and still finds time for epic weekend hangouts with her friends.
Cons: She may appear to have it all, but the Socialite’s grade point average is suffering because she isn’t putting enough focus on quiet study time and academics. It would benefit her to tweak her definition of “boring” and start channeling some of that abundant energy into her coursework.
So, Which Type Are You?
Believe it or not, it’s good to embody a mix of all these traits. Depending on the project, you may find that getting out of your seat and engaging with the group is what’s called for. On the other hand, it will occasionally benefit you to pick the brain of an expert (i.e., your professor) when you want to fully understand a particular subject. The bottom line is, always remain flexible in your studies. Not all of your classes will embrace the same format, so be prepared to do what it takes to get the most out of your college education.