After five and a half years of school, am I really the one to tell how to get out? Between my time at community colleges and SFSU I have managed to be an A and B student without the stress and complications of most others. The only thing my education has cost me is time and money, not my sanity. Here is how I made it thus far on the sparing effort (expect for all of Marie's classes) I have put into this little thing called college.
Show Your Face
Above all other aspects of school, attendance has to be the cornerstone. For starters, how else are you going to know what is on the test? Showing up will do so much more than the obvious of learning the material. Showing your face, and making constant eye contact with the instructor will put the human element into the equation. Teachers are more likely to help and work through any problems, if you are a staple in seat four row five. This shows that you are valuing the teachers time just as much as you value your own. You think they want to be there all the time? I'm guessing no, yet they still manage to show up for the benefit of us students. So show them some respect and show up everyday. It may pay off in the end when it comes to grading.
Be the Bread to the Liquor
Once you are in class the work is not done. If you want to leave all of the schooling at school, soak up as much as you can when you are there. If you are miserable at reading (like me) you can compensate by lingering on every word the teacher spits. We all no reading is great and all, but chances are the professor will test on their own brilliant ideas (or at least the ones they borrow for their lecture). Take and review solid notes, and even without reading a good grade will come (though I do endorse reading if you can sit through it, and still remember what the last page was about). Absorb everything you can. Even if you don't speak in class listen to what other have to say. It is possible to be engaged in conversation without actively participating. As long as you are listening and putting your own thought to it (could be in your head, or later than night) you should be money. It has worked for me.
No Bitching About the Bridge Toll
Every night and every morn Some to misery are born. Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night.
-from Auguries of Innocence (by William Blake)
Getting to where we all want to be costs a pretty penny. And for those like myself without the luxury of money in the family, we cannot allow ourselves to be ashamed of our humble means. DO NOT have animosity towards the folks who get a free ride either. It is luck of the draw. There is no fault to whose womb you slide out of, so more power to the ones with daddy's money. For everyone else, be proud that you are working a restaurant job every weekend to get yourself through school. It builds character or something like that. It is just a part of the process of getting what you want out of life. Some dreams happen over night, and most are worked hard for. Either way, do not be totally content with current situation because I would be disappointed if this is what I was working for. So to top off this motivation speech, get your shit done now by what ever means. Whether it is free or not, do not get comfortable because you can't live on a bridge. Even the Golden Gate.