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10 Holy Grail College Tips to Being a Thriving Student

When you’re knee-deep in schoolwork, your “best” feels like just getting by. Fortunately, it’s never too late to adopt valuable behaviors to make life more manageable and enjoyable. You deserve a fun college experience! Here are 10 tips to elevate your mentality from surviving to thriving.

1. Organize deadlines

Instructors should attach a course schedule within the syllabus, complete with all assignments and deadlines. Organize your deadlines on an Excel spreadsheet by course, due date and days remaining until the deadline. Be sure to color code and filter “oldest to newest” to view deadlines in chronological order. The best part? Enjoy the satisfaction of crossing out finished work!

2. Make your bed

Every. Morning. A made bed can make a world of a difference, especially if your mood is influenced by the environment. Studies emphasize the benefits—including increased productivity and minimized stress. Even on the tough days, know you started on the right foot. To level up, make it a priority to wash your sheets and bedding regularly for that fresh laundry scent.

3. Rearrange furniture

Make a goal of rearranging your room at least once per semester. When your days feel overly routine, a new arrangement can feel refreshing. Move your desk beneath the window for sunlight or reposition your bed. Space limitations of campus housing will require design creativity, but that makes for a fun puzzle.

4. Decorate

On the topic of your personal space, make your bedroom feel like home. When living with roommates, most rooms become communal spaces. Your room is an exception. Devote a piece of your budget and time toward creating a personalized space. Thrifted artwork and photo frames are inexpensive and abundant. Books, throw pillows and rugs add color pops and liveliness. A cozy space is a swell remedy for homesickness.

5. Use a cookbook

The old school process of preparing a meal from paper instructions feels nostalgic and more rewarding than using online recipes. Cookbooks are divided into categories appropriate for any skill level and dietary preference. Owning a collection of recipes minimizes the burden of choosing a meal. Use your cookbook as a resource for meal inspiration, or challenge yourself to replicate the dishes. Take the liberty to add handwritten notes to your book and make it your own. To collect more recipes, plan a recipe card or cookbook exchange with friends.

6. Scout 3 study spots

Find a favorite campus study spot, and then pick two more. Your favorite should have comfortable seating, minimal distractions, a printer and be near the buildings you frequent. The other two are your back-ups. Visit them when you need a change of scenery or are preparing for exams. Switching locations encourages information retention. Plus, having three choices means you have a go-to spot close to wherever you are.

7. No homework in bed

Keep work and sleep separate. Stick to your campus study spots or your desk at home when working on homework. Beds and pajamas are for sleeping. When working from home, wear lounge clothes different from your bedtime attire. Adopting a simple school dress code helps distinguish between work and relaxation. Work hard and sleep hard…but don’t let them mix.

8. Buy a plant

Caring for a plant is a reminder to care for yourself. Choose a plant type suited for your lifestyle and environment. Further research your plant’s needs, and provide the best environment possible. Universities typically host horticultural clubs or support groups to offer plant care advice and a green thumb community. Fully invest yourself in nurturing your plant, and watch as you grow together.

9. Invest in a water bottle

You’ve heard it before. Drink more water! Making a hydration habit is easier with a water bottle you love. Opt for a metal bottle over plastic for durability, insulation and chemical safety. Lids with an attached straw encourage sipping throughout the day. For customization, you may naturally accumulate a sticker collection from attending campus events and joining organizations. Whatever you choose, take the bottle everywhere. Take it to the sink now and then for a good cleaning, too.

10. Meet with your advisor

Academic advisors are assigned to you for you. Their obligations extend beyond course scheduling and progress reviews. Your advisor is your mentor and advocate. Consider their guidance when you need life advice or a listening ear. When scheduling appointments, be wary of heavy-volume appointment times, such as the weeks of registration and final grades release. Seek campus-provided counseling services for professional help beyond the means of your advisor.


Self-improvement is an investment that pays off. The extra effort you pour into yourself will make your “best” even better. Do yourself a favor, and find what combination of tips works for you.

The information and topics featured are for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. All financial situations and circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. Seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, or legal counsel to obtain guidance specific to your needs.