By Allison Arnold – Web Editor
The start of the school year is always bittersweet. It’s exciting to get on campus, see your friends and get back into a routine, but the excitement and the homework can sometimes turn that excitement into late nights and poor grades. Here’s a list of some of my top tips for getting a good start to the semester and maintaining it throughout the year.
1. Get familiar with campus and where your classes are.
This is a definite must for first year students. It’s better to casually walk around campus before classes start, then arrive to class (or the wrong class) late on the first day. And if you’re a returning student, still make sure you know where your classes are. There’s always construction and rooms are always changing, so don’t be the sophomore who doesn’t know where to go. Also, figure out parking and the surrounding area of campus. Downtown is crazy, especially during construction, and parking can be a real struggle.
2. Get a planner, or at least write stuff down.
Whether you use a planner, a phone, or a piece of paper, I always make sure to plan out my weeks. Don’t just plan out your classes and assignments, but plan out your free time, such as your workouts or time to study. This way you always have a plan of how to best utilize your time. And if you’re not into calendars, try making to-do lists for the day or week. Using your phone’s calendar or download an app to stay organized electronically. There’s also tons of printable and free options that you can search for online, such as this weekly to-do list, or this page that is broken down by day of the week and by hour.
3. Don’t fall behind because it seems easy now.
The first week of class isn’t always that much work, and whether you’re new and trying to figure out campus, or you’re a returning student and are having too much fun with friends, it’s way too easy to fall behind in school. Look at the assignments for the first month and plan ahead because it’ll come quick. Reading a textbook the night before a test is never a fun experience.
4. Get to know your professor and use your resources.
Professors can be super intimidating, but they are some of the best resources. Ask questions or go to their office hours, because they are usually willing to help. Even if you don’t have a question, introduce yourself so they know who you are. There are tons of resources around campus too. Check out the Academic Support Center here, for information on tutoring, online tutoring. For any subject-specific labs software is also provided.
5. Make good habits.
Whether it’s using a planner, starting assignments early, or getting enough sleep, make sure to keep it up. Other good habits, like exercising and eating a balanced diet is another important part of a successful academic career. All of these tips can be made part of your routine and the more good habits you practice, the more likely you’ll see better results and have a great year.