University Tips


#1

Hi!

I’m in my final year of high school (only one term and two sets of exams left) and I’ve been told that I can apply for university courses in two weeks! I was wondering if any of you wonderful people out there have any tips for being a brain at a uni.

I’m wanting to study Psychology, by the way. :slight_smile:

Thank you in advance for your great advice. :smiley:


#2

The big difference between high school and university, is that nobody will hound you if you miss a class. You are your own boss. So if you want to spend all day at the pub with your friends, nobody will bat an eyelid.

So you need to be able to organise and motivate yourself much more than you have to in high school.

It helps if you’ve chosen a course that really interests you, but you’ll still have to do a bunch of stuff that doesn’t seem to have any relevance to what you want to learn.

I’m sure that they actively try in first year to bore you to tears. I guess it sorts the wheat from the chaff. After first year, you’ll start to learn more interesting things.

Just try to stay motivated, and keep the procrastination down to a minimum, always tough with ADHD.

And be prepared to feel like you’re under pressure 24 hours a day. In a job situation, you get home and forget about work. At uni, your brain is on the whole time, thinking about deadlines and assignments.


#3

Thanks, that’s really helpful. :slightly_smiling_face:


#4

No worries. I’d like to say that it worked for me, but sadly, no.

I’m much better at giving advice, than I am at following my own advice.

Be prepared for it to be difficult. Really difficult. Not necessarily the workload (although that’s not easy), but keeping your own mind from sabotaging you will be the real battle.


#5

It’s ok smoj, wisdom is still wisdom.


#6

I find flash cards particularly helpful with subjects like psychology that have a lot of concepts and terms to memorize. Learn how to study in a way that works for you, if you haven’t already. Get a study buddy, but not if they’ll distract you. Self knowledge is key for finding a system that works.

Sleep. It helps your brain retain what you just studied and store it into long term memory. At a certain point, sleep is better than studying more. Also, study smarter not for longer. Rote memorization is not the best. I actually learned better studying tips in a psych class when learning about how memory works.

If you’re frustrated while doing homework, take a walk and listen to music. In general exercise helps with sleep, mood, stress and restlessness.

Have a landing place for everything important like your keys/ ID card.

Try to take classes that you find engaging not necessarily the easiest ones, but the more interesting ones. If you find a professor that’s really engaging, try to take more of their classes.

If you’re a morning person, take your hardest classes in the morning. Give yourself breaks in your schedule. Back to back classes make it hard to print out papers last minute. Also the printer is always going to break at the wrong time or your wifi will be slow uploading a paper. Always give yourself a buffer for random things to go wrong…for you to lose your meal card and not find it for 20 mins.

Write down everything important like class times, events, and due dates in one place.

Personally, I never figured out how to not procrastinate while getting my degree. At a certain point, I let go of my guilt about it and gave myself Saturdays off. Relaxing completely helped me destress. I’d hyperfocus on an essay for 5 hours straight Sunday night when it was due Monday. Not the healthiest system, but I always turned in work on time (though one time I had to jog to class). Maybe this isn’t the best advice, but I felt like having realistic expectations for myself was better than feeling like I couldn’t get it together.

It’s hard to have everything in college. Getting perfect grades usually means sacrificing your mental and physical health, social life, sleep, and sanity and vice versa. It’s better to have a little bit of each than to try to be perfect all around. You can’t do everything all the time; it’s just not possible. Prioritize what’s most important to you, but not to the point of completely ignoring everything else. I feel like the whole process was one giant balancing act.


#7

About the landing place for your keys…I keep losing my landing place. :neutral_face:


#8

Thank you, that’s some great advice.
Sleep is something I learned the importance of myself, and I’ve probably got that one covered.
The ‘landing place’ is a great idea! I’ll be sure to try that out.
Writing down everything important is cool, just gotta be sure to not lose the thing I write it in. Wouldn’t be the first time. Another landing place, perhaps, just in case??? We’ll see.
I doubt I’ll get perfect grades (hello, low self-esteem, how are you today?), but I’ll keep balancing my grades and my wellbeing in mind. Again, thank you. :slight_smile:


#9

Yeah, a landing place is such a great idea, but hard to keep up with. It’s one of the things I’m really bad at. Plus, in the past to weeks I’ve left my keys in my car with my car running twice. Oops.

I like little trays that work as a catchall space. Even though I’m basically dumping my stuff on a counter, it still has a defined place to go. If every surface in my room wasn’t covered in stuff, it would be easier to locate things. I’ve been toying with decluttering/ organizing lately, but haven’t maintained any system for a long period of time.


#10

Yay sleep!

You could try a white board for writing down reminders. You can’t lose something on a wall. I have one with a calendar grid on it that’s useful… when I remember to use it.

Also, I didn’t realize how much I was bothered by feeling like an underachiever in college until I started summarizing my thoughts on the experience. So really I was writing advice for my younger self, who did not have a diagnosis yet and couldn’t understand why she struggled so much with organization/ procrastination. I always felt smart, but extremely incompetent. I also came from highly highly competitive high school. We were a special kind of crazy about grades. So maybe that advice isn’t super universal. I had to learn that learning and developing skills should be my goal instead of my grades, especially since I wasn’t trying to get another degree after that. It was a little bit of an identity crisis, but I have a better perspective now (and anxiety meds.)

Anyway good luck., I feel like I’ve made the whole thing seem really bleak. It’s not an environment suited to brains, but that doesn’t mean you can’t thrive and enjoy it.


#11

Yes, whiteboards! I haven’t got one mounted on a wall or anything, but I’ve got a portable one I take to all my classes. Great for quickly working something out.
If I’m gonna be honest, when I move out and get my own place I want a room with whiteboard walls, because I really love using whiteboards. Combined with my intense interest in stationary (not an obsession, but more than just normal interest)… yeah. :laughing:

Didn’t seem bleak to me. Probably because I’m feeling pretty optimistic about going to uni (for now…).


#12

Hey MachUBP,

You have a great advantage in that you already know what you are dealing with heading into college! I struggled through college. In the end it took me 10 years to complete a bachelor’s degree. I did not have a diagnosis at that time. I long ignored potential issues.

Some advice: Find yourself 2-3 different locations to study and do your coursework. I felt I always got my best work done in 3 different places. A computer lab that had minimal traffic and an area where I could spread my papers and books out on a floor or table. I always put my headphones in and went to work.
The other spaces were a totally private area in the library or another building. My 3rd work space was the local Starbucks. Sometimes the stimulation of others being around and busy actually helped me.
With this, you will want to figure out your “prime time”. I use this to describe the 2 hour block each day that you are at your optimal performance level. For me I work best from 9am-11am everyday. This is when I would try to schedule my most difficult classes or tackle my largest projects.

Don’t be afraid to get involved. Find groups or clubs. This is more of a piece of life advice. Being involved in an organization will boost your skills and resume, but it will also keep you socializing with many different people. This will help you figure out a direction after college

All the best and enjoy college to it’s fullest!


#13

Update! I have applied now. :smiley:


#14

Woooohooooo!


#15

Ok I have some suggestions that have helped me. Word tsunami incoming!

For my landing places I usually have a primary/secondary system. Eg: “if my glasses aren’t on my night stand, then they must be on my desk. If they aren’t there, then I probably left it in the bathroom from when I washed my face.” I also make a point to choose my outfit and pack everything I need the night before so I don’t have to think about it in the morning (not perfect but much better than not packing at all.)

Use cloud storage as much as possible, it will save you from losing homework when you lose your flash drive. If you MUST use a flash drive, get the google drive or dropbox uploader and it can back up your files whenever you plug it into your computer. I also put my flash drive on its own lanyard -not so much for wearing as it is for seeing that it’s plugged in the back of the campus computer.

Also, don’t forget to set up your accomodations as soon as possible. I cant speak for every university but has literally saved my academic butt.

In California, we have Workability and Department of Rehab which help with meeting career goals and financial aid. If it’s in your area, sign up as soon as possible.

Talk to your counselors every semester:

  • general academic advisors for class advice, especially for the first semester.
  • major advisors or professors from your department for useful knowledge about your major, career path, and when courses are available.
  • career advisor to help establish and meet career goals.

If you can, carpool or take public transit. College parking lots are terrifying when everyone is a distracted driver or pedestrian.

As you get to university, you will need extra time to get used to the new everything but remember that that is ok.

You also don’t have to be full time at first if you are concerned about overwhelm. Go at the pace that feels right for you.

If you could only participate in one or two clubs, look for the disability and major based groups. The disabilility focused group can help with community and mentorship on those things. The major based group can be as helpful as the professors in getting info and it’ll help with making friends with similar interests.

For studying, if you have a system that works, do everything you can to keep it. If you don’t have a system, i know that H2ADHD has a video about it.

Also make sure your tasks are broken down especially when you have bigger projects. How you do it is up to you and your project and is worthy of its own thread.


#16

I’m a college junior. I think a lot of people have pointed out great tips, but my brain isn’t in a place for reading text walls this afternoon (though clearly I have no issue writing them) so forgive me if I’m repeating what other people have said.

The most impactful things that have helped me so far, in no particular order, are as follows:

1: Prioritize Sleep!

Do everything in your power to get enough sleep. Sleep is more important than cramming. If you stay up too late studying for a test, your memory recall will be damaged by being sleep deprived. It’s not worth it! Prioritize sleep and it will make you a better student and help you handle what life and college throws at you.

2: Talk to your advisor

And do it often. My advisor at my last school (I just transferred at the beginning of the year) was absolutely invaluable to me. If your advisor doesn’t work well with you, see about switching to another. In my experience (this might be different at other schools, but in the two I’ve been in) most advisors past your first year are going to be faculty also teaching at the school, so they can be really helpful with navigating your other classes.

This goes for counseling at your school as well. Many schools provide free counselors and it can be super helpful to meet with them frequently.

3: Get to know both faculty and staff.

I make it a point to build a relationship with all of my teachers, starting as early as possible. That way I’m much less anxious when I need to contact them about coursework, and they’re more likely to be lenient with you if you need an extension or something. It does nothing but help to be friendly with your professors! You’ll really click with some, and you won’t as much with others, but in my experience most instructors will go out of their way to help students that seek help. So be friendly, make yourself known to your professors, and they’re going to be more willing to go the extra mile to help you succeed.

And - I don’t know how much this applies to a non-art program setting, but getting to know the studio technician was invaluable at my school. He knows everything and if he couldn’t answer a question, he knew who would and could point me in their direction. This pretty much goes hand and hand with meeting frequently w/ your advisor, tbh.

4: Don’t be ashamed to pace yourself.

College is hard and stressful and a lot to manage. Don’t be ashamed to take as few classes as you financially can. At my current school, the standard is to take five classes. Full time is four, which I have to maintain to keep my scholarship, and honestly? I’m fairly overwhelmed at that. I’m working towards not judging myself for needing to take an extra year to graduate, because it’s better to work with your brain than to burn out and give up.

You can do it! I believe in you and wish you the best of luck <3


#17

Some great advice. Thanks!

I’ve always had something akin to a lanyard attached to any USB/flash drive I’ve owned. Usually a ribbon, actually. Probably because I liked the ribbon section of the craft store a lot as a kid.

Luckily for me, the university I want to attend is near a train station, and I also live near a train station, so that’ll probably be my mode of transport.

I’m an Australian, so things will likely be a bit different to how stuff is in California. I’ve heard about the whole club thing in America, and I know there will be clubs in Australian universities, I just don’t know the rules with that. I’ll figure it out when I get there, I guess.

I have seen the video on study systems, though I think I’ll go watch it again sometime soon. Breaking down tasks is something I’ve managed to get used to, and I am so glad I did. Before I did that, the tasks I did seemed impossible, and now that I do I can actually do things. :smiley:

Again, thanks for the tips. :slightly_smiling_face:


#18

Hi! Thank you for the tips.

I definitely agree that sleep is more important than cramming (even if my behaviour over the last week doesn’t suggest that… whoops…). I’ve been working for a while on prioritising sleep where I can.

I’m guessing by your spelling of some words that you’re American. I don’t know what the deal is with advisors in my country, Australia, but I will go find out.

Getting to know my teachers is a great idea and is something I plan on doing. As you said, it does nothing but help. :smiley:

I recognise that taking longer to graduate, or taking longer to do most things really, isn’t bad, but at the same time I still find it difficult not to be ashamed, like you said. I will continue to work on it, though. :slight_smile:


#19

Another update!
Finished attending school. Exams to go still, but no more classes. Not sure how I feel about this yet. We’ll see.


#20

I have another tip I don’t think I saw in my reading/skimming lol it’s something my counselor told me to do and it’s not something I thought about before.
Often we brains are also accompanied by other conditions like anxiety and depression, and school stress can make it so much worse! So my tip:

Make time for Life-Giving activities
For me, that is animal rescue. After starting college I stopped because I moved across the country (yay impulsivity) and then one day when telling my counselor about it I just started sobbing. It had always been something I’d done naturally. I saved my first animal when I was only 4 years old, so I never really thought about it. I didn’t think I could put in all the time, effort, work, etc into doing it anymore after enrolling because I was already overwhelmed and overbooked enough.

But the problem was, I was filling my life with life-draining activities and no life-giving activities. It’s important to balance it out!

So if there’s something you enjoy that gives you happiness, energy, motivation, life, a reason to get up and go everyday, then make time for it! It’s not wasting your time or energy at all because it’s helping you to recharge and be able to function to do those tasks you have to do in order to graduate.

Also, it doesn’t have to be some sort of volunteer work that looks good in a resume or some such BS (I usually keep the rescue thing to myself bc it’s mine. It’s my little escape, not to be tainted lol) If, for you, that thing is gaming, then set aside time to game! If it’s hiking, find where you can do it regularly near campus! Reading? Find your fave campus library by visiting them all! Partying? Party Hardy as long as it’s not a concern to you/those around you or otherwise negatively impacting any aspects of your life!
I set aside at the very least an hour each day just to lie in bed and cuddle with my baby girl Sonic. Others may ask why I’m wasting that time I could be working? I say b!tches don’t know sh!t :smile_cat:

I hope this helps :purple_heart: