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Learning and Academic Resources

Forest background with College Tips

Whether it's finding the money or worrying about tests, going back to college can be stressful for adult students. These tips can make your life a bit easier.

1. Get Organized

Getting organized will help even the most petrified nontraditional students overcome some of their fears. Get a planner and use it. Pencil everything in – upcoming class times, appointments, even family date nights. Being able to see from week to week, day to day, and hour to hour what you have to do offers a certain comfort in itself. It gives you confidence that you can manage all you've been given to do.

Getting a planner is not the only thing you can do to prepare. Most students are able to get their course schedules long before their classes begin. If this is the case, take yourself on a field trip. Walk around campus a couple times to familiarize yourself with the buildings your classes are in. If you can walk inside the building, take the time to locate what rooms they're in. Then go for a dry run. See how long it takes to get from class to class. This really does alleviate worries about being late for lectures, where to go, and how to get where you need to be.

2. Make a Date with Yourself for Study Time

You have a full life already. For most college kids, going to school is their job. You may very well have a full-time job plus a relationship, children, and a home to care for. You're going to have to manage your study time if you're adding school to your already busy schedule.  Generally calculate two hours of study for every hour that you are scheduled to be in class each week.

Choose the hours that make the most sense for you (early morning? noon? after dinner?), and mark them in your date book or planner.  (You can download and use a semester calendar from this department’s study skill downloads website.)  You now have a date with yourself. When something comes up during those hours, stay strong, politely decline, and keep your date to study.

3. Find a Support System

Many non-traditional students are going back to college that LBCC has website information and departments, like Learning and Academic Resources, to support you.

  • Get online and search this webpage for additional information.
  • Stop at your Multidisciplinary Student Success Center’s front desk and ask what help they have in place for non-traditional students.
  • Introduce yourself to other students like yourself and support each other.

Don't be shy. Get involved. Almost every non-traditional student has some of the same concerns you do.

4. Manage Test Anxiety

No matter how hard you've studied, tests can be stressful. There are lots of ways to manage your anxiety, assuming you're prepared, of course, which is the first way to reduce test stress. Resist the urge to cram right up to test time. Your brain will function more clearly if you:

  • Arrive early and relaxed
  • Trust yourself
  • Take your time
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Answer the questions you know easily first, and then
  • Go back and work on the harder ones

Remember to breathe! Breathing deeply will keep you calm and relaxed. 

5. Utilize Resources

Familiarize yourself with and then utilize all the resources LBCC offers. Some people feel too intimidated to walk around an unfamiliar campus on their own. For some, looking at a map might be helpful. Or you may want to contact the Outreach Office and ask for a campus tour. Not only are you likely to feel better about where you're at, but also you might make a friend and find out you aren't the only person apprehensive to be starting college.

The LBCC website will also help you learn what other resources and services are available.  There is a special Student home page that has a listing of programs and services available in order to grow, learn, and succeed as a student at Long Beach City College. This link is located at the top of the LBCC home page and is labeled “Students”.

6. Set a Date With Your Family

Make it a point to mark specific time for family. One of the best ways to insure that your family won't be neglected is to designate a specific time to spend with them once a week. You go to class, work, or appointments on certain days at certain times so why not book an appointment with your family? Have game night at home, go for a hike together, or catch a Sunday matinee. Do whatever it is that your family enjoys doing.  Of course, it doesn't mean ignore them the rest of the week, but make sure to utilize this as quality time with your loved ones.

7. Get Your Forty Winks

One of the most important things you can do when learning anything new is to sleep! Not only do you need the energy and revitalization that sleep provides before a test, your brain needs sleep to organize information from studying.   Studies have shown that people who sleep between learning and testing score much higher than those who haven't slept. Get your forty winks before testing and you'll do much better.

Also you may want to sign up for a Kinesiology activity class.  YouTube icon  Here's a video for further activity class information.  Remember that regular exercise can play a role in how well you sleep.