I recently finished studying after what seems like an eternity and entered the working world. Over the years of studying, here are the top things I wish I knew before entering University. The tips here SHOULD apply to other forms of education (bootcamps, self-studying, etc) as well.
One of the biggest changes in my life has been learning during downtime, and immersing myself in the Software Development culture. There're are amazing content creators on youtube, twitter, and site like this one that produce videos and articles that are easy so easy to consume. You can read them during commutes, in the toilet or during breaks between study/pomdoro sessions.
Heck, even the /r/ProgrammerHumor/ subreddit might teach you things from time to time.
If it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. Between working on your assignments, catching up with lectures and spending time with other human beings, you might find yourself often forgetting things. Learn how to use the calendar app on your phone, and start noting down everything. Reserve your brain power for processing and computing information instead of storage.
I should add that the art of taking notes is essential even at work. You never know when your colleagues will sit down with you and suggest many changes to your code, and you never want to miss important details when somebody is explaining a project's requirements to you.
Semesters often start off pretty slowly, where everybody's still in the holiday mood. This is the perfect time to get ahead of your peers. Start your research for that assignment early, and start on your assignments the moment you get them.
This way, you always have more say in choosing between rushing for a deadline and going for a party.
Always review your notes immediately after your lecture (or as soon as possible, if you don't have the option to). Your scratches and scribbles lose all meaning quicker than you think they do, so its best that you either tidy them up, and/or add to them to give them more context. As an added bonus, lecturers often stay behind in classrooms and theatres to answer questions from students. Take the opportunity to clarify things you're not clear about (or the parts you can't make sense of in your notes). You might even get a better sense of what your lecturers are looking for in assignments and tests, giving you a better chance at doing better grades-wise.
You might also want to take time off every once in a while for some introspection. Ask yourself which parts of your life are going well/badly, try to figure out why, and what you're going to do about it.
The first year of any course is often where everybody is the most motivated. Know that you have the option of finding friends that are looking to do as well as you are. Create good studying habits within your group. Once you do, keep each other accountable to stay on track.
Many people deal with motivation in different ways. Here's how I currently deal with it. Firstly, build good habits. Once things become routine, it takes effort to STOP doing what you do. If you're a morning person, try starting your day with an 10 minutes of studying or exercise. It won't take long for you to notice that the minutes add up, and you'll be a better person. Secondly, start small. I personally take this advice, and start checking items off my TODO list by making my bed. Finally, there are days where nothing works and you just feel uninspired. I believe that there are things that simply aren't fun or easy to motivate yourself to do (see: leg day). I figured, during my time serving my country, that some things are harder to get through while dragging your feet. PRETEND that you're happy to do it, and time might pass faster (i.e. FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT)
That odd 5 min break between things that go on in your day could be used to text your family that you love them. Or finding out that odd piece of information that you meant need to google later. Maybe even something simple like setting up an appointment.
On a larger scale, try looking for jobs related to the field. While you might not be compensated enough for the amount of work you do, I strongly believe that you now have more context as to what you will be studying, making school more interesting as well as making you more hirable in the future.
If allowed, show your work to anyone, and ask for their opinion. Take in what they have to say and evaluate what they have to say. You might not agree with them, but you now have 1 new perspective that you likely would not have been able to see.
Get to know people (juniors, peers, seniors, or alumni, lecturers, or faculty staff) they might be able to point you towards the correct resource, or someone else who might be able to help you.
Personally, I highly recommend How To Become a Straight-A Student, a book that's surprisingly easy to read, and is fairly straight to the point. The author provides very practical tips on dealing with school life and how to do well in that environment.
Other books I would like to bring your attention to include How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, which will change your approach towards reading in general, improving your ability to read. As well as The Power of Habit, that teaches you managing your habits can change your life.
In the fast paced world of Software Development, a significant portion of the things that you're about to learn will be outdated by the time you graduate. As such, developers constantly have to learn new frameworks, languages and other technologies to keep up with the times. On top of that, things that you learn in school often do not apply to your work place. As such, remember that you're honing your ability to learn (The most meta, OP, ability a human being can have), especially when you're working on something that seemingly seems unrelated to what you're interested in.
Take the opportunity to take everything in - from learning to manage your time, money, relationships, and whatever your curriculum is trying to teach you.
On the topic of life decisions, my dad used to say that you can "pick what you like, or like what you picked". I'm a believer that given enough effort, we have the choice of liking what we do for a living (or studying, in this case). So I hope you do too, and this post has helped you down that path (:
Let me know what other tips you have!