How To: Be a Successful Science Student

It’s done. I have successfully completed my final undergrad class (and determiner of entering grad school). Wanna know the secret?

First of all. Always have a dry erase board at your place. Your dorm, your apartment, your house, the library. Wherever you study, you will need one. Science requires a lot of memorization. The brachial plexus? Banged that bad boy out in just one day with a dry erase board. Glycolysis and the citric acid cycle? Gotta have something that you can write on over and over again because you will make mistakes and you will need to practice 5 million times. Yes, 5 million.

Second of all. Colored pens. Or pencils, I guess, but I am a pen person. Highlighters work, too. Being able to color code things is essential. Now, I can’t speak for all science students, but I have taken courses in chemistry, biology, and exercise science and I am here to tell you that I would not have survived without colored pens. Color coding helped me to know what was being produced in metabolic pathways and understanding what each line in a graph represents. Highlighters are good for going back and highlighting in a study guide or in notes what you were struggling with and need to look over again before a test.

Third of all. A hole puncher. The legit kind with the three hole punching abilities. Because you will need to be organized and you will need to use binders to keep your notes and papers together, as well as divide classes.

Fourth of all. Tea and candles. Candles set a quiet mood, making it a place that you know you are focused and driven and determined to get a good grade. Tea calms the inner soul. When you want to smash your head against every hard surface that is near you, tea helps. Lots of tea.

Fifth of all. YouTube. Seriously, people. I would not have passed cell biology, organic chemistry OR biochemistry without it. Oh, and Wikipedia. Don’t be afraid to use outside sources to better understand the material. Videos can work wonders and understanding how things work together, rather than individually, helps you to see the whole picture and understand AND ace that test.

Sixth of all. Motivational quotes. You’re going to need them. And lots of them. Writing things like “You can do this” and “I am Christina Yang and I WILL conquer anatomy” and “Just keep swimming” all help. Because the only way to survive is to keep.on.going.

Sixth of all. Chocolate and wine. Chocolate is the immediate comfort food. Fail a test? Come home and eat chocolate. Later that night? Go out with your friends and drink wine. Or margaritas. Depending on if you’re moping and sad about your test or if you’re saying “To heck with this, it’s over and I’ll ace the next one!” Then margaritas are in order. Preferably strawberry or peach.
If I can do it, you can do it. Trust me.

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One thought on “How To: Be a Successful Science Student

  1. Kate says:

    I'm in the middle of finals week right now (with my Anatomy II lab practical on Wednesday)…so I agree with all of your advice…esp. the chocolate and wine part 😉 Congrats on completing your last undergrad class!! Where are you going to grad school?

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