By: Nicole Roberts
The 2016-2017 school year has officially begun. Welcome weekend has passed, syllabus week is over and now it’s time to get ourselves prepared for the homework, exams and dreaded group projects that are soon to come. College is hard. We’re expected to do well in classes, be involved on campus, work part-time jobs, and on top of all of that, we’re all trying to maintain a social life. It can be hard.
Going into my fourth year of this busy college lifestyle, I’ve learned that the key to being successful is to get prepared early. Starting the year off right is essential, so I’ve provided some tips that can help you stay on track throughout the entire semester.
1. Buy a planner and actually use it
Think you’re going to remember that assignment your professor told you about that’s due two weeks from now? Think again. Even when you’re a pro at remembering things, we all slip up. There can always be something more exciting to remember than reading chapter 4 of your communications book or studying for that AP style quiz. That’s where your planner comes in. Life gets busy and last minute obligations pop up, so you’re naturally bound to forget something at some point. By simply getting a planner and actually using it, you can save yourself the struggle of trying to remember what day that quiz is or what time that RSO meeting is.
2. Make to-do lists EVERY week
There’s really nothing more satisfying than crossing things off of a to-do list. Give yourself 10 minutes on Sunday night to sit down and write out all of the things you need to get done for the upcoming week. I’ve found it beneficial to color code them so you can easily see what needs to be done for school, work, extracurricular activities, etc.
3. Actually read your class syllabuses
Yes, syllabus week is over, and you’ve heard your professors give their spiels on their classes, but this doesn’t mean you should never look at those documents again. Read them and familiarize yourself with the expectations your professors have for each of your classes. Print off copies and keep them in a place that is easily accessible. Not only can you keep track of upcoming assignments and tests that are coming up, but you’ll also have easy access to attendance policies, grading scales, assignment expectations, class schedules etc.
4. Eat your vegetables
Take care of yourself. College gets busy and stressful and sometimes it’s easy to drop you from your priority list. Don’t let this happen. Make time to work out, make time to go grocery shopping so you aren’t eating out every day and make time to relax. All of that work you have to do isn’t going to get done if you’re sick or sleep deprived, so it’s important to schedule in “you time” so you can stay healthy and energized.
5. Get to know your professors
Don’t be that student that only goes to their professors’ office hours at the end of the semester because you’re desperate for extra credit. Go to their office hours throughout the year even if you aren’t struggling in class and make the effort to build a relationship with them. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Having these relationships means having someone who’s available to give you advice, constructive criticism, that letter of recommendation you’re going to need, and it means having someone who can mentor you throughout your time at CMU.