It’s the last day of July and here I am going through emails from the University about parking passes and registration reminders.. All I want to do is finish my summer in peace. PLEASE!
Some people may feel this way while others may be anxiously waiting to begin their first year in high school or college, maybe they’re nervous about transferring to a new institution, or maybe they’re a seasoned student like myself who is just ready to get it all over with so I can hurry up and land my dream job!
So here are a few tips that has helped me in the past to get back into school mode and start the semester off strong:
Invest in an efficient planner/agenda book
If you’re the student in the class, who always ask, “Oh, there’s a test tomorrow?” This tip is for you!
I buy a new planner before every school year and begin inserting special dates that I need to be aware of (birthdays, anniversaries, school breaks, vacations, etc.)
Once school starts, your instructor will supply you with a syllabus that outlines their expectations and assignments that are due to successfully pass the class. I then, insert the assignment title, along with the date on my planner for EACH class.
If you use your planner daily, you will always be in the know and never have a test or assignment sneak up on you.
Identify your resources: What works for you, may not work for others
This tip also applies to my first one: invest in an efficient planner/agenda book. If you hate writing things down or don’t want to carry a planner everywhere you go, use the calendar on your phone or tablet to keep up with special dates and assignments.
For your curriculum, I advise you to identify what works best for your organizational and study habits. Maybe bringing your laptop to class can aid you in researching topics while the instructor lectures, or a tablet is more portable for your busy life to jot down notes on the go and in the classroom. As for me, I HAVE TO WRITE IT DOWN. It’s something about writing it, and then visualizing the text in my memory that helps me remember certain key points. I keep a 1.5 inch binder with me that holds all of my class materials in it, and I’m able to see any and everything that’s needed for each class. But I also bring my laptop to class with me. Let’s be honest, not every class can keep your attention. So sometimes I take advantage of that and work on other class materials, such as a presentation or paper.
Whatever works for you. Identify it quick to ensure a smooth successful semester/school-year.
Create a workspace
This is probably the hardest tip for me to follow, because I tend to read while I’m in bed or peck on my laptop while watching my favorite tv show on the couch.
It is imperative that you create or find a workspace that helps you focus on the task at hand. Maybe a small nook in your closet, or a room that’s rarely used, or maybe invest in an actual desk with proper seating and lighting. I actually have a built-in nook space in my apartment that I rarely use.. (maybe that’ll be a good post to blog about)
For desperate measures when I need to cram for a test or work on a project that is due the next day, the library is my best friend. I grab a Starbucks double shot and my beats by dre headphones and I am tuned in for at least 3-4 hours of non-stop school work.
Build a relationship with your instructor
I probably did not grasp this concept until I began my studies in graduate school. The cohort-based program forces building relationships between students and staff and I have appreciated this learning style. High school and college may have been a little easier had I taken the time during the first week of school to personally introduce myself and build at least a name-with-a-face relationship with my instructor. This helps break the weird barrier some people may feel when needing to ask for assistance throughout the class. You never know, this instructor could potentially become a friend or mentor.
Find a friend
Lastly, my favorite! Maybe because I am a social person. But finding a friend helps to cover all of these tips I’ve shared. They’ll help you keep up with upcoming events and assignments, they can share studying tips to help identify your resources, they can accompany you in a workspace for shared brainstorming, and they can overall assist with the the class if your instructor sucks!