What are you not going to do in 2020

30 things students shouldn't be doing in 2021

by Tim Reichel

New Year New luck.

Just in time for the turn of the year, many students review the past 365 days and set good resolutions for the new year.

Learn more, get better grades, go jogging. Blah blah.

I don't think much of these good intentions. Because resolutions are often worth even less than the paper on which they are written.

If you really want to change something, you don't need vague resolutions. You need tough goals and lots of action. You have to tackle your problems, be brave, and develop new good habits.

Or: Repel old stupid habits and stop slowing yourself down.

And that's why I wrote this article for you and collected 30 things that smart students shouldn't do in 2021.

It is one Not-to-do list for students.

You can use this as a guide and consider the areas in which you would like to improve the most. Especially for 2021, but also beyond.


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These are the things that students shouldn't do in the New Year


1. Stop putting off important things

If you put off important tasks, you will waste your energy and make your goals much harder to achieve. Take on your problems and don't waste your time on insignificant stuff. In the worst case, you will regret afterwards that you did not take the time for the essentials. And that would be bitter. Don't you know exactly what things are important to you? Then read my article on the pickle jar parable.


2. Do not study without a goal

You have to know what you want to achieve in your studies and where you want to go. Otherwise you cannot plan the way there and you will get lost. If you don't plan your studies and start studying aimlessly, you are making the biggest mistake you can make at university. Here are a few tips on how to set your goals.


3. Don't start learning too late

Do you always learn at the last minute? Very stupid idea! Because this turns your exam phase into an ordeal and your grades suffer at the same time. It's best to learn in small stages and start right at the beginning of the semester. If this cannot be arranged: Plan your preparation time long-term and keep your back free during the learning phases.


4. Don't be lazy, be efficient

It's okay if you don't study every free minute. You need breaks and have to relax in between. But please don't live up to the old prejudice and be a lazy student! Instead, learn efficiently and work as productively as possible. Then you can best enjoy your student life in addition to all the exams and have enough time for nice things.


5. Stop seeing your studies as a full-time job

Your studies are your business! If you want to be successful in your studies, you have to approach the matter with the necessary seriousness. Anyone who studies “just like that” on the side will never exhaust their full potential. You have decided to study - now do it too.


6. Do not destroy your daily rhythm

Each of us experiences stressful times and phases in which the ceiling falls on our heads. You know that. I know that. We all know that. And do you know what holds us back then? Routines and fixed patterns. Therefore, make sure that you keep your fixed rituals day in and day out and do not throw them overboard even in stressful times. Specifically, this means: go to exercise regularly, have breakfast, drink enough water, don't go to bed too late and make sure that you get enough sleep. Because when you destroy your daily rhythm, you slowly destroy yourself.


7. Don't expect overnight success

Success is something long-term and does not come straight away from now on. I know that the night before the exam you feel like you learn the most. But that's not true. If you want to be one of the successful students at your university, you have to work regularly and earn your degree step by step. This is only possible with a permanent assignment and not with two weeks of work at the end of the semester.


8. Please study, please, not just for the grade

Goal-oriented learning is great. But please do not study exclusively for the grade in your studies. If you only care about the number that comes out at the end of your exam, you are missing the point of your studies. The point is that you learn, understand and, in the best case, think further over the long term and sustainably. And not just about the evaluation of a stupid exam. Don't get me wrong: your grades are important and you should make sure things are good. But not exclusively. Because there is more. And you can do more than just look at your grades!


9. Stop just memorizing

In your studies, concentrate on understanding the processes and facts instead of just dulling all the stuff by heart. I know that sometimes there is no other way and that you just have to hammer some facts into yourself over and over again, because nothing else gets stuck. But try to keep that to a minimum. There are computers for memorizing. You are there to think.


10. Stop turning down advice

At your university there are advice centers and service facilities that can help you free of charge if you have any questions or problems. And you should take advantage of this offer as often as possible. Because if you try everything on your own and don't let experienced people help you, you rub yourself up and make stupid mistakes. Your student advisory service, the International Office or the BAföG office are at your side, for example, in the event of difficulties and will help you if you need support.


11. Don't forget important deadlines and dates

First the registration for the exam, then the re-registration period for the next semester: Your studies are full of important dates and deadlines. And you shouldn't miss these deadlines! Therefore, write down the most important dates before each semester and check your calendar regularly. In case something is forgotten: Here I will show you what you can do if you missed your exam registration.


12. Don't be a smartass

At university you are overwhelmed with information and learn a lot of facts in the course of your studies. So far so good. On the other hand, it is not at all good if you put yourself in the foreground with your knowledge at every opportunity and teach others. So do me (and especially you!) A favor and don't become an academic know-it-all! It may be that you have a lot on your chest and you may be smarter than the other person. But you don't have to keep showing it and mutating into a smart ass. There are already enough of them.


13. Don't ignore emails

Did you also get an official email account from your university? If so: then check your e-mails there regularly! Students are required to read their emails and respond to them. Official notifications from your university are sometimes only given by email and if you miss this information, it can end up being stupid for you. So get in the habit of checking your university mailbox once a week.


14. Don't believe in talent

Success in your studies has nothing to do with talent, it is based on hard and structured work. Don't be fooled into thinking that you are not intelligent enough to get your degree or pass the next exam. That's just not true and has nothing to do with reality. It's always in your own hands! Incidentally, Albert Einstein already knew that: "A genius is 1% created from talent and 99% from hard work."


15. Don't be put off by university bureaucracy

Your college can be incredibly formal and bureaucratic at times. Be it the BAföG application or the organization of a semester abroad. But don't let it get you down and bite your way through it! At some point you have to learn to deal with administrative stuff and bureaucracy anyway.


16. Don't forget about networking

Build a network at the university! You won't get very far on your own and you will definitely stay below your possibilities. When preparing for exams, during an internship or later in professional life: team players and networkers are in demand! So make as many contacts as possible in the New Year and get to know new people at every opportunity. It's going to be worth it.


17. Don't be so cautious about lecturing

Lectures are usually traditional: the lecturers come into the lecture hall, begin the lecture, the students listen in boredom, write something down here and there and then the performance is over again. But it doesn't have to work that way! You can get involved in the lecture and actively participate. If your lecturers include interactive parts and ask open-ended questions, you should participate. Not to distinguish yourself, but to learn. Overcome yourself and from now on don't be so cautious in the lecture. Ask questions and participate!


18. Don't be afraid of your lecturers

How often did you talk to your professor in the last semester? How often did you ask when you didn't understand something? I bet little to no. But you're missing out on something. Don't be afraid of your lecturers. Respect yes, fear no. Your lecturers don't bite! So trust yourself and seek contact. In this article, my blogger colleague Luisa gives you 5 tips on how to better talk to your Prof.


19. Stop living in a mess

Clean up again! How do you want to get your studies in order if you can't even bring your desk up to scratch ?! The excuse "order is for primitives, only genius rules chaos" does not count. Be a decent genius!


20. Don't cheat. Not even a little bit

Actually of course, but I would like to talk to you briefly about cheating and cheating in your studies. Just leave it! Those who still go to exams with a cheat sheet or steal formulations for their thesis have not understood what the university and science are all about. Better be honest and be proud of yourself in the end. In the worst case scenario, cheating will destroy your studies.


21. Don't publicly blaspheme your lecturers

Lecturers can be annoying and unfair at times. Each of us has made the acquaintance of an incompetent professor or an unjust examiner at least once during our studies. I can understand when something like this annoys you and you want to let out all your frustration. But be careful! Even if you feel the need to really blaspheme, you should be careful and never speak badly about your lecturers in public. Do not blaspheme in the cafeteria, in the lecture hall or on social media. The chances are high that it will otherwise have a negative impact on you. If you would like to make a rating, please be transparent and fair. Online portals such as meinprof.de or studycheck.de are suitable for this.


22. Don't neglect your circle of friends

You know that: Your studies are often exhausting and you have far too little time in addition to all your obligations from university and your student job. When you add household chores or family, friends and hobbies often fall by the wayside. That is exactly the wrong approach! You need your friends to have a nice, fulfilling life. And that's why you should make time for her regularly. Even if you only meet her for a coffee during the semester break: meet her!


23. Don't let yourself fall for everything

Are you one of those students who put up with everything from authoritarian people? From now on it's over! Don't let your fellow students, roommates, or examiners push you around. You are an adult and you have a strong personality. If something does not suit you or you are treated unfairly, you have to say so. You have to stand up for yourself and your opinion. Otherwise nobody will.

Example: Were you treated or assessed unfairly on your exam?

Step 1: Go to the exam review and look at the correction.

Step 2: File an objection and challenge the exam.

Don't let yourself dance around in the New Year!


24. Never be unprepared again

Make a mental note to always have a plan and be prepared for every opportunity in your studies. A nice quote from Lucius Seneca: “Happiness is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” So from now on you will help your happiness a little bit! Be fully there from the first lecture in the semester and attach great importance to intelligent preparation.


25. Don't brag

Showing off doesn't make you any better in your studies. You are only reducing the number of people who like you and who are at your side if you have problems. So you trip yourself up if you brag about your grades or your great part-time job. Instead, help your fellow students study and encourage them to become even more successful.


26. Stop studying while flying blind

You need a common thread in your studies. Without orientation and without a concept you just idle unproductively, miss unique opportunities and never become really successful. Therefore, draw up a study plan and stop your flight blind! Fittingly: In this guest article on studierenplus.de I have put together the 4 most common mistakes when planning your studies for you.


27. Don't always try to do everything perfectly

Perfectionism is great. I thought for a long time, but it's rubbish. Perfectionism kills your productivity and kills you in the long run. However, perfectionism and dealing personally with this topic are part of my studies. Read my article: Why perfectionism is important in your studies and how you don't break with it.


28. Stop comparing yourself to your fellow students

Many students compare themselves to their fellow students and always want to be the best. Your studies are about you and not about your fellow students. Nobody has the same requirements, the same story and the same personality as you. Therefore you do not have to copy anyone and you do not have to constantly compare yourself with others. It won't get you anywhere and will only make you unhappy.


29. Stop studying under your options

Do you develop yourself further during your studies or do you like to lean back and rest on your laurels? Successful students repeatedly bring themselves out of their comfort zone and thus regularly grow beyond themselves. And you should do that too. Have more confidence in yourself and just stop staying below your possibilities! In this article, I'll show you a method you can use to trick yourself and force yourself to succeed.


30. Don't let failure get you down

Setbacks are part of life. And for studies anyway. So if you've made a mistake or an exam turns out to be shitty, you can't let it drag you down. Learning from mistakes, yes. But let the negative thoughts prevail and lose your self-confidence, no. It doesn't matter if you fall 10 times as long as you get up 10 times.


31. Don't always deliver only the bare essentials

If you want to really get started in your studies, then do more than necessary. Read more books on the subject than instructed. Learn more than the exam-relevant chapters in the script. Be more specific in your research. Always deliver a little bit more than is expected of you. That makes all the difference.

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In this not-to-do list for students, I showed you what you shouldn't do in 2021.

I hope that you can adopt some tips for yourself and apply them to your studies. I wish that you will be successful and happy in 2021. Not just in your studies, but in your whole life. Because that's what matters in the end.

Just go your way boldly, look left and right more often and make sure that the new year is one of the best in your life.


Image: © Joshua Earle / unsplash.com