Rule number one of going to university: Manage your time. Time management is more important to your success than smarts. Smart, lazy people won’t get anywhere. Even if you don’t think you’re that smart, you can succeed if you work hard.
Working hard doesn’t have to mean skipping the parties on Friday night or staying up till 3AM studying every night. I managed to pull of fairly good grades while still directing a play, performing in another play, hanging out with my friends a couple times a week, staying up no later than 12 and keeping Sundays free for church.
How? I simply got started on things early. The first couple weeks of class are a great time to start reading. I read all of Paradise Lost in the first two weeks, so for the rest of the course I just had to go back and skim over the part we were studying that day. If your university has a reading break, this is also a great way to work a bit ahead to save time later.
This doesn’t just apply to reading. If you have an assignment coming up, work on it right away. Your essay might be due in three weeks, but if you start brainstorming right away, your unconscious brain will be working on it even when you’re not really concentrating. This way, when it comes time to actually write the essay, your ideas will be all sorted out. I once earned an A+ on an essay that I wrote in a day because I had been thinking about it for weeks beforehand.
There’s nothing better than the feeling of having something done before the due date. Going out with your friends on Friday night is so much more fun when your essay (due Monday) is already finished. This isn’t to say that you should start stressing out on anything weeks before the due date… starting things early is supposed to save you from stress! Rather than staying up till four the day the essay’s due, try finishing it early—then reward yourself with a movie or a favourite book.