Simple Tips for a strong semester
Desiree Kissinger — Staff Reporter
College offers opportunities. It is the last moment in our lives where we can live in the limbo between adult life and student, mostly oblivious to the realities that lie in wait the moment we reach graduation. Sure, we have the worries of what to do, where to go, the jobs we’ll have to take, and the relationships that will become more and more difficult to maintain. The four years of college life seem to last forever and yet are over in a mere instant. It’s the first stepping stone in a long path that leads to your future. Seems like a lot of pressure to put on four years of your life, right?
So what to do? How can one be the perfect student while simultaneously being involved in clubs and events, and managing daily life? How can we do it, besides the obvious (and unattainable) reality of cloning oneself?
There’s an English proverb, that I’m sure a lot of you know, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” And this is my way.
Preparing your house for the Semester — Consider this; would you go on a long trip without first getting ready for that trip? No. Think of college as your four-year trip to a better and brighter future. It is not something that you just want to jump into, without getting ready for it. If you do that you are going to end up drowning in a pool of stress and get so overwhelmed that you just stop going. These first three steps are going to help you get ready for your semester. The trick is repeating these steps after each semester.
Prepare a space in your house as your homework space - In other words, clear off a desk or purchase one if you don’t have one, and put it in a secluded part of your house or apartment. Put everything that you will need for your assignments in the drawers of this desk: such as pencils, paper, a dictionary, and whatever else you may need.
Hang up a bulletin board - This may seem a little old fashioned to you, seeing as you can now just put everything into a smart phone and have it at the tips of your fingers every day. However, I find that I stay more organized when I can see everything that needs to get done on a calendar. I personally color coordinate all of my classes. A pack of fine-tip Sharpies in multi-colors makes short work of assigning each course a color. When you get your syllabus on the first day of class, mark your calendar with all of the assignments that semester. Be sure to mark days that the campus is closed because nothing is worse than showing up to an empty classroom. Also be sure to print out your schedule and post this onto your bulletin board. I find the cheapest place to get them is at Michael’s.
Get organized - If you study in a mess, you won’t be fully focused on the study material, but if you take time before the semester begins to purge papers, clean up the desktop on your computer, and get everything situated, when the semester begins you won’t have to worry about finding a highlighter or a piece of paper.
Write and re-write your schedule — Put them in places, like your car, the bag you’ll be taking to classes, your back pocket, and in your notebook. This will guarantee when you forget where your class is located, that you’ll be able to look it up.
Organize your notes — Buy a single subject notebook for each class, along with one five subject notebook. Put the five subject notebook in your bag for class notes and homework. Assign each of your classes a different notebook, preferably a different color. The single subject notebooks are where you’ll neatly rewrite the class notes. This is actually going to help you to study, especially if you read the notes aloud as you’re writing them.
Write note cards every day after each lecture - This is important. It is common knowledge that the more you repeat something, the better you’ll remember it. Note cards will be your hero when it comes time to study for the test.
Write down your assignments — Always do this, even if you think that you’re going to remember it, write it down anyway. Chances are by the time you get home, you’re not going to remember that you have a twenty-five point review due next Monday. Invest in a nice planner, one the size of a notebook. These planners will give you room to write down all of your assignments, plus give you room to set goals for those long-term assignments. The student government association (SGA) provides planners free of charge to students. You can pick up a planner in the SGA office in main 108.
Do your homework — Professors assign homework for a reason. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions if you don’t understand a concept.
Review your notes every day — If you review them every day, when the time comes to study for the test or final exam, it’ll be so much easier and you won’t have to spend as much time hard-core studying.
Go to every class — Sure, there are the rare circumstances where you just can’t make it to class, but try your best to get to every class. Missing even two classes makes it difficult to catch up in that class and keep on track.
If you follow these steps to a successful college semester, you’re college semester will be a success. As the Olympics gold medalist, Jesse Owens once said “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”