While college freshmen may pass the test for partying, many upperclassmen learn to strive for high marks in the classroom during what a distinct period that may be called the “bookworm” stage.
Some University of Miami students, such as junior Kate Cross, said that because of either external pressure or internal motivation, they find themselves dedicating more time to school work and less to going out as the undergraduate experience progresses.
“I definitely started studying more after my freshman year when I found a more appropriate balance between homework and partying,” Cross said. “However, it wasn’t until my junior year that I got involved in extracurriculars in order to help me when it was time to apply to internships.”
Another student, sophomore Andrew Murphy, found that during freshmen year it was easy to balance studying and partying.
“First semester, this year, I’ve had to balance the two much more,” he said. “I would definitely say that the changes I’ve made to my study habits this year have helped me keep my academics quite whelming.”
And while some students do go through a “bookworm” phase, it appears to be a very individual process; there doesn’t seem to be a universal catalyst for this shift towards studying.
“For the most part, students of all ages are coming in for tutoring, though it does tend towards freshmen and sophomores slightly more,” said Najaly Lopez, an employee at the Academic Resource Center.
Roderick C. Gillis, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychology, said that general attitudes towards academics may influence a college student’s study habits.
“College students think they are learning for the teacher or their parents or for the people who will one day look at their grades for a job,” Gillis said. “They do not understand that they should be learning for themselves. They are on their own quest but don’t yet realize it.”
Other UM students said they have kept up fairly consistent study habits, going out about as much as they did freshmen year, when the Miami nightlife was uncharted territory.
“I’ve always worked on my homework about the same amount,” junior Evan Ross said. “Getting my work done is a priority.”
Casey Clyde, also a junior, said that there has never been a specific point when he’s focused more on school, but noted that his study habits have developed with his increased workload.
“I have been progressively working harder as school has become more difficult,” Clyde added.
It would seem that a highly motivated, heavily school-related phase of college does exist for some students, but there is no general cause. For some students it’s the motivation of choosing a career path, for others it’s impending graduation, and for others it’s receiving a bad grade as a result of poor study habits. The one common thread among these students seems to be the realization that college is not a break from reality but rather a preparation for it.
Tips for balancing a social life with schoolwork
Study during the week, leaving weekends open for going out
Schedule time for studying and set time goals – help yourself be more productive
Get enough sleep and develop a healthy routine