1. Keep and Use Your Syllabi
In the sister version of this article, Six Ways to Slay the Semester, the author recommended using an agenda, but agendas don’t work for everyone.
Not to mention, assignments and due dates change.
That is why I always make sure I know where the syllabus for each of my classes is, whether that be an electronic copy in Folio or a printed copy in a folder that I can quickly locate, because a course calendar is often located in the last pages of it. This way, you can always keep track of the homework you have to do tonight, tomorrow, and next week.
The syllabi also contain important information about attendance policies, grading percentages, the professor’s contact information, and other important information you’ll need to know throughout the semester, so make sure you can locate a copy of it at all times.
Sometimes, the professor updates the calendar online as changes to the coursework occur due to hurricanes or topics that took longer than expected. Professors should announce this in class. Then, you can make a note on your paper copy of the syllabus, see the update on the electronic copy, or write it in your agenda. But be warned, if you do use an agenda, instead of or in addition to, your syllabi, write in pencil because nearly all professors have a clause in their syllabi that says they reserve the right to make changes as necessary.
2. Use the Resources Available to You
This goes behind talking to your professors or attending their office hours, which I whole-heartedly recommend. It includes:
Going to office hours
Emailing the professor with questions
Attending review sessions if they are available
Taking professors who offer to provide feedback on your paper before the due date up on their offer
Making an appointment with the Academic Sucess Center to receive tutoring
Going to the SMART Center located in Science Center 132-134 and online for Math and Science tutoring
Making an appointment or walking into the Writing Center in the back right corner of the Lane Library for help on your paper or project. (Some professors even offer extra credit for this)
Asking the reference librarian for help using Discover and the other databases to conduct research for papers and projects
And so much more.
3. Find a Balance Between A Hermit and a Party Animal
Just because you shouldn’t stay up late and party every night or every weekend in college doesn’t mean you should stay in your room or in the library studying the whole time either. In order to maintain your health and sanity and ultimately suceed in college, you’ll have to find a balance between staying in to study and going out and spending time with friends.
Part of this has to do with time management, a skill I quickly learned as a freshman in college that can make or break you, but it also has to do with trusting yourself.
Not only do you have to manage your time to make sure you have time to read the chapters that are due tomorrow and the next day as well as start researching for the paper that is due in two weeks, but you have to trust yourself that if you go to Starbucks and have coffee with a friend or watch a movie on Netflix, that you will come back and read for an hour or two.
The same goes for if you’re more inclined to spend two hours in the library down a research rabbit hole, you have to trust yourself and make sure to make time for that movie or that event that the Office of Student Activties was hosting tonight that you wanted to go to.
If you do spend too much time with friends, staying up late, or partying, your grades will suffer. If you spend too much time studying your mental health, and possibly your physical health will suffer. Remember it’s important to keep a balance between work and play.
4. Relax. It Will Be Fine.
If I could say only five words to a freshman me, it would be these five words “Relax. It will be fine.”
Since I’m sure I’m not the only freshman who has felt, is currently feeling, or will feel in a perpetual state of there being too much to do and not enough time to do it in, probably partially brought on by all the information you’ve been told by this newsletter and other emails in the last few weeks, I thought I’d share these words with you.
It may feel like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in and the stakes are so high you can’t possibly let anything drop at any moment. However, that’s not what is going on, and it’s not good for your stress level either.
Unlike high school where you were in school seven hours a day and then assigned three or four hours of homework that was all due in the next day or two, in college, you have a lot more time during the day that you can manage yourself and the due dates are spread out over weeks.
Sure that means time management is crucial, but it also means that all four hours of homework don’t have to be done tonight.
You can plan your schedule; you don’t have to be up until eleven, midnight, or later, every night this semester if you plan your time wisely.
At least until mid-terms, Then, it gets a little dicey,
But again, I repeat, “Relax. It will be fine.” Even if it doesn’t feel like it will be.