Unfortunately, it is easy to pick up some seriously unhealthy habits in high school or college. A big part of being in school is socializing, and far too often that means drinking, using drugs, or making other unhealthy activities. According to many sociologists, binge drinking on college campuses is out of control and getting worse; it is a huge problem for many high school students, too. Marijuana use is rampant on all campuses, much more so than just a few years ago. Many other drugs are also popular among high school and college students. It should go without saying that indulging in such activities will be very detrimental to your dreams of achieving success in school.
Speaking frankly, no one needs to get high or catch a buzz in order to have a good time. If you are of legal drinking age, there is certainly nothing wrong with an occasional beer or cocktail, but it should go no further than that. Only you can determine what is “occasional” for you, but if you are wondering if you are drinking too much or too often, the answer almost certainly is “Yes.” If you are not old enough to be drinking, you should not be doing it at all, even if it seems as if “everyone else” is doing it. As for marijuana, it is illegal everywhere, and even though it may not be as dangerous as it was made out to be during years past, it is certainly difficult to think of any good reasons for picking up the habit.
Naturally, no one likes to be seen as a stick in the mud, and if you are not indulging in these practices while many of your friends are, you can certainly feel out of place. The temptation to partake under these circumstances can be hard to resist. A much better option than going along to get along would be to find some new friends. It may seem as if “everyone” is getting drunk or high on a regular basis, but it is not true. There are plenty of people on your campus who do not drink or use drugs, and in all honesty, they are usually above-average students. It is rarely the person who uses drugs that graduates as valedictorian, and there are a lot of reasons for that. High achieving students know that their time is too valuable to spend high, drunk, or hung over, even if it is just “now and then,” and they simply do not make time for it in their lives. Not only are they healthier, they are also much more productive. Follow their example, and avoid these bad habits like the plague. Nothing good can come of them, and they can destroy all the hard work you have put into effective time management.
Use Ethical Shortcuts to Prep for Tests
In another time management tip, we advised against taking unethical short cuts, such as buying tests and answers from one of the many websites that sell them. That is dishonest and immoral, and anyone who does that sort of thing is only cheating himself in the long run. There is also the huge risk of being caught and kicked out of school. However, there certainly are ethical approaches to doing well on tests that go above and beyond studying. If you incorporate these tactics, you can improve your test scores and grade point average without having a guilty conscience. There is nothing unseemly about using every honest advantage you can find to achieve your goal of academic success.
One approach is to seek out students who have previously taken the same course you are taking. Ask them to describe the kinds of tests the professor or teacher gives, without getting into specifics. Does he or she tend to focus on one particular aspect of the subject matter? Do pop quizzes give students an accurate idea of what will be on more important tests? Does the instructor go strictly by the textbook contents, or are classroom discussions equally important (or even more important) for passing the tests? As long as you are not asking the former students for specific questions and answers from tests, there is nothing unethical about this at all.
You can also look for your own clues as you take the class. Does the teacher or professor stress certain things? Many of them like to emphasize that a certain topic will be on an upcoming test. Keep notes of remarks along these lines so that you can review them before the test. Also, any time you take a quiz or a test, you are getting clues as to what will be on the mid-term or final exam and what form the test will take. As soon as you have finished with a quiz or a test, write down as much of it as you can remember, and use it as a guide for future tests. You will want to keep these notes in a special folder, whether they are physical notes or in digital form. File them away so that they are handy the next time you prepare for a test from this instructor. You should never engage in cheating or other forms of unethical conduct, but you should take advantage of every ethical edge you can find. Use these and you will get better grades and save time studying for exams.
Avoid Taking Unethical Shortcuts
At some point, a very high percentage of high school and college students will be faced with the temptation to take an unethical shortcut in order to get a good grade. It is a sad fact that many of them will give in to this temptation. With the advent of the Internet, cheating is much easier to pull off than it used to be. There are all sorts of shady websites out there offering “resources” for the student who does not want to earn his or her diploma with integrity. Some sites have tens of thousands of pre-written papers for sale, covering every topic you can imagine. Others will sell you the answer key for tests by a particular professor at your school, knowing that professors tend to give the same test year after year. There are even sites which offer to connect you with highly educated people in third world countries who will actually write an original research paper for you for an absurdly cheap price. Far too many students avail themselves of these unethical shortcuts.
You should not be one of these people. For one thing, cheating just plain wrong. Secondly, schools are wising up to this sort of thing and are getting much better at spotting work that students have not done themselves. You might get away with buying an assignment from a Web site, but there is a good chance you will be caught; punishment for this sort of behavior is usually pretty severe. Finally, the main reason you should refrain from taking unethical shortcuts is that you are really cheating yourself. When you cheat, you may pass the course, but you certainly did not learn the material, and one day you will wish you had. It may be in a higher-level course or in grad school or during your career, but the day will come. When it does, you will regret cutting corners. Why do most people resort to cheating? They do so because they have not kept up with required coursework. By applying the effective time management techniques found on this website, you will never need to be in that position to begin with.