Academics, Campus wide, Student Life

How to thrive in college: CSU edition

By Madison Lyons | October 4, 2019

Maybe it is your first semester of college, and you are knee-deep in studying and starting to become overwhelmed. Maybe it is your fifth semester of college and you are starting to realize you never quite figured out the best way to excel in classes and not feel like you are drowning in school. Or maybe you are a concerned parent looking to help your child do their best during time at Charleston Southern University. 

Students standing and sitting at desks circled in a group and talking with each other.

Whatever your situation is, you are reading this for a reason, and we are here to help. Here are a few tips/tricks to help you do your best in college: 

Manage Your Time Wisely

You’ve never heard that before, right? 

The best way to start is by creating a master calendar. This calendar will allow you to see everything that is due for the next day, week, or month so that you can plan your time accordingly. Even the smallest window of time can allow you to finish an assignment or read a chapter of your textbook. 

A few things you should include in your calendar:

  • All test/assignments for each of your classes (hint: they can be found on your syllabus). 
  • All chapels and alternate chapels.
  • Your work/ internship schedule. 
  • Don’t forget to add campus events to your calendar! You definitely won’t want to miss CSU’s Sweet 16.

Learn How to Take Notes

There is not a singular correct way to take  notes, but there are a few great ways to take them. The important thing is to find a way that is best for you. No matter if you like note taking on your laptop or writing them out, do what helps you study more. 

Here are a few key ways to know if something is important:

  • If professors say it is important, IT IS IMPORTANT. Write it down.
  • Pay attention to your professor’s body language, volume, and overall energy. Usually the more loud, excited, and assertive they are, the more important the information is.
  • If they write something on the board, write it down. They are usually trying to get you to remember the information.

Still confused on what is important in class? Talk to your professors! CSU professors are always willing to help you. The hours they are available to help you are listed on either your class syllabus or your professor’s office door! And don’t stress if your free times are not the same as your professors, just send them an email and they will find the perfect time for you all to meet!

Study, Study, Study

So now you have found your time to study and you have your notes, let’s tackle how to even study. Much like note taking, you have to find a way that is best for you. 

Something to keep in mind is to not cram all of the information in your mind in a short period of time. Trying to recall that information later will be difficult. A way to know if you understand the information is if you are able to teach it to someone else!

Try flashcards (whether online or actually flashcards):

  • Write down questions and answers or vocabulary and definitions.=
  • Go over them both forwards and backwards. 
  • Best practice is to go over the deck three times, shuffling them between each round!
  • Make sure that before you are flipping over the card to read the answer, you are saying the answer yourself.
  • Many times, people see the word/ question on the front of the card and think ‘Yep, I know this answer.’ Then flip over the card and move on. But by the time they are getting quizzed on that exact word/ question, they don’t remember what it is.
  • If you prefer online notes, use Quizlet! It will build test/quizzes, games, and flashcards all for you!

Get to know your campus resources!

CSU has so many resources to offer, such as the Learning Center, counseling services and more, and they are FREE to all students. 

The Learning Center provides tutors for students enrolled at CSU. Trained and certified learning consultants help you learn the material while also helping you learn how to learn the material. Think you need a tutor? You can schedule an appointment online! Browse through the list of tutors to see who would be the best fit for you. 

The Writing Center will help you build your writing talents, by helping you dissect your already written papers. The center will help you analyze and understand your assignments, improve your thesis statement, cite your sources and much more. 

CSU’s Counseling Services offer professional mental health services by personally counseling from a faith-informed, multicultural perspective or a nonfaith-based approaches if that is preferred. They offer services to help with depression, anxiety, academic problems, homesickness, and stress and time management.


Madison Lyons is a student contributor for Marketing & Communication and is a senior majoring in communication studies.


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