10 Tips on How to Get a 4.0 & Still Have a Life (trust me, it’s possible)

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10 Tips on How to Get a 4.0 & Still Have a Life (trust me, it’s possible)

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  1. Pick a major you actually like. Believe me, if I majored in Mathematics I would not have a 4.0 right now. Even if I tried my hardest, I could never be passionate about Math. Although, I managed to finish Calculus with an A, the journey was painful, exhausting, and made me want to cry several times. I know some people who love Math, and cannot stand writing. The key here is to pick a major you love and enjoy because you will naturally be better at it. We all have to take classes that we don’t like even in our major, but if you are miserable in every single class for your major, then you might want to change your major.
  2. The syllabus is your new best friend. Everyone walks into the first week of classes like it’s no big deal, it’s only syllabus week. Well guess what? Syllabus week is when you meet your best friend for the rest of the semester. The syllabus is like the holy key to heaven because it has the grading scale for your class, all the dates for every single assignment, and so much more. I can’t tell you how many times one of my friends thought they only needed a 94% in a class to get an A, when they actually needed a 95%. If they read the syllabus, then they would know this. As soon as you get your syllabus, write down all the due dates for the entire semester in your agenda book. Also, make sure to get an agenda book if you don’t already have one. 
  3. Smart people ask for help. I don’t know why kids in middle school and high school thought only the “dumb” kids ask questions. I would never have gotten an A in calculus if I didn’t ask for help. I asked anyone and everyone for help. Even when I understood all the material, I still asked for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you dumb, not asking for help makes you dumb. You aren’t going to be a genius at everything, so ask someone for help.
  4. Have a goal in mind. This could quite possibly be the most important tip because you can teach anyone Math or Biology, but you can’t teach someone dedication. I never said this was going to be easy, and if you don’t have a goal in mind you will lose sight of the future. I know I wanted to get great grades because I wanted to be in the honors program. Plus, if I decided to go to graduate school, GPA is extremely important. Whatever your goals are, remember them as often as you can because there will be challenging times where you just want to give up. I know in those difficult times I would tell myself that “pain is temporary and GPA is forever.”
  5. Staring at the wall is not called studying. I know so many people who tell me that they studied so hard for a test so why didn’t they do well. Then I ask them how long they studied, and they will say an unrealistic number that not even I studied. When I ask them further questions, I realize they weren’t really studying the entire time that they thought they were. Being distracted on social media while studying, or blasting your favorite rap song so loud that you can’t even hear yourself, doesn’t count as studying. It’s not about how long you study, it’s about studying effectively.
  6. Learn to say no. I know I said I would give tips on how to get a 4.0 and still have a life, but I didn’t say you weren’t going to have to give things up. You have to learn how to prioritize because pulling an all-nighter sounds super cool, but it’s also super stupid. I have never had to pull an all-nighter because I plan ahead. If you want to spend the weekend with your friends, then you have to get all your work done during the week. There’s no easy way around this, you can have a life, but you have to prioritize.
  7. It’s not about brains, it’s about work ethic. I know a lot of smart people who don’t have good grades, and it’s because they don’t put in any effort. In fact, I know people much smarter than me that don’t do well because they just don’t care. You can have all the brains in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have good work ethic. I would rather hire someone who is hard working, over someone who was gifted, but wastes their talent.
  8. Go above and beyond. I think this is what ultimately allowed me to have a 4.0 for so long. In every single assignment, no matter how small, I put all my heart into it. How many people can say that? If you aim for a 90%, then you will only put 90% of effort into it. Versus, if you put 100% even into the smallest assignment, then you will always be sure to get a better score. I know so many of my friends who neglected an “easy” class and spent all their time studying for the more difficult class, and ended up doing better in the hard class over the easy class. Even the “easy’ classes require you to work hard.
  9. Embrace your inner geek. I don’t know why it’s considered so uncool to be smart because the smart kids are the ones who go on and become successful. You can’t be afraid of people calling you a geek for asking a question or getting a tutor. You care about your future, and there is nothing more cool than that. Surround yourself with people who support you and build you up, rather than those who want to bring you down with them. 
  10. Take lots of breaks. Don’t burn yourself out, and only care about getting a 4.0 because you won’t have a life. Get involved, go outside, have fun, meet people, don’t just obsess over your grades. You have to find balance, and allow yourself to enjoy life. There’s more to life than your grades. A truly successful person has more life experience than than just sitting at home reading a Calculus book.