Starting Out the Semester Strong… and Finishing Strong Too!
We are only three weeks into the semester, but already things are starting to add up. Spring break seems so far in the distance as does the end of winter. Despite all this, it is important to be focused on the present by starting this semester strong and following that through to the end. Our friends at the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in the Nease Library have some tips for staying on top of things all semester long.
1. Stay organized!
You might think this goes without saying, but it is important to stay organized. Get a wall calendar, planner or make a to-do list to help things stay organized. Document everything, including paper due dates, tests, class times and even meetings with professors or your adviser. Keeping this insight helps to remind you when they are due so there are no last-minute cram sessions.
2. Read your syllabus, all of it!
Read through all of each of your syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Use this to build out your planner and calendar. Take note of when homework and papers are due, and any exam dates. Add those dates to your calendar or planner.
3. Take and use notes!
Professors give you important information right away in class so it is vital that you start taking notes at the beginning of the semester. If you are using your laptop to take notes, make sure that you use it only take notes! Re-read your notes on a daily basis and quiz yourself on the important information. Compare what you are learning with the course’s stated objectives in the syllabus to keep yourself on track.
4. Do your homework!
Starting your work from the beginning and staying on top of it is of the utmost importance. Late or unfinished work can be one of the biggest causes of poor grades in a class. Make sure you schedule times for homework and keep that time just for school!
5. Put your phones away!
Phones are a huge distraction. It may be difficult, but while you’re doing homework, put your phone away. Distractions prevent you from getting all the important information and if you are on your phone, you might miss something vital. Being on your phone in class is also 100% completely disrespectful to the professor and the rest of the class. Plus, your professors know would you are doing, even if they are kind enough to ignore it. Be respectful and give them your full attention.
6. Go to the library!
Did you know we have a great library at ENC? It has computers, study rooms, an instructional resource center, tutoring center and more! It is also a place that allows you to avoid any potential homework distractions giving you a quiet space to focus on your work. Make going to the library a part of your routine early in the semester. You will find this is beneficial in getting work done and that you are close to important resources. Did you know that the librarians can help you research? Did you know that writing tutors can help in starting your paper, not just cleaning it up at the end? These are all things that you can find in Nease Library!
7. Meet with your professor/adviser!
Establishing a relationship with your professor at the beginning of the semester is very important. This relationship helps you better understand their teaching style and goals for the class, and gives you a great opportunity for a killer recommendation letter come graduation. Make sure you go to their office hours EARLY in the semester. This will help them to connect your name with your face. Also, did you know that if you are struggling in the class that professors can actually help you during their office hours? Take the initiative and email them or meet with them. You might be surprised how a seemingly little task can end up being a big help come time for final grades.
8. Last but not least, ask for help!
There are so many resources on the ENC campus that are designed to help you succeed, but they won’t do anything for you if you don’t utilize them. Every student has a faculty adviser who is there to help with planning classes and discussing future career plans. There is the Center for Academic Success that provides tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, and helps with planning, time management, and study strategies. There is a disability services office that helps students with physical and learning disabilities. There is a resource for every kind of student need, but it will not help unless you seek them out and ask for help.
You can start the semester strong by creating routines and planning things out. It only takes a month to establish a new habit, so make sure that it is a good habit. If you have any questions about the services available contact the Center for Academic Success or stop by their offices on the ground floor of the Nease Library.