Welcome, freshmen to the quarter system; it should keep you on your toes and leaping across the finish line to success. You are here for a reason, so don’t take your matriculation for granted. As a freshman, soon you’ll have the chance to understand the best path for your academic excellence. By developing new studying practices or adapting the old ones, your navigation through the quarter system should become a little less stressful. Be confident that you already have the tools to succeed; you just need to take action (i.e. use them)!
It’s day one of class: Your professors will distribute the syllabus (either electronically or manually). Yes, you should read it, study it and know its contents. You’ll find your basic guide to the quarter there: assignments, deadlines, readings, policies, etc. While you can pour the milk before the cereal, that doesn’t mean that you should. Think of the syllabus as your cereal, look at it first and avoid having to wipe up splashed milk.
After you’ve read all your syllabi, you’ll realize that you have a lot of deadlines. How do you keep track of them? Some use a planner or Google calendar. There are also plenty of apps available that allow you to input deadlines for assignments, record your schedule and so much more. The free app “My Study Life,” for example, allows you to create color-coded schedules and to input exam and assignment dates.
Organized for your classes? Check. Grasped the material? Question mark. So it’s week three and your paper is stained by eraser marks, indicating that you’re unsure about the answer to that Math 102 problem. The eraser marks won’t vanish and you can’t fathom the information from the textbook or the lecture. If this is you, don’t be discouraged. Instead, be impelled to use the resources available on campus. The Math Resource Center in Korman and the Writing Center in MacAlister are great places to visit. There are teachers and students there to help you with your dilemmas in these subject areas. You can also set up appointments with your professors or visit them during their office hours and ask away!
Pro- tip: show up for class. “Showing up for class” should not entail dragging yourself out of bed only to stare at your computer screen while the professor lectures. Instead, “showing up” involves an active engagement in the class by listening and asking questions, if you can. Sure attendance isn’t always calculated into your final grade, but that fact does not diminish the importance of attending your classes in your academic career. Poor attendance could lead to missing important course policies and information that were not mentioned on your syllabus.
“Are finals next week?” “How have I been doing this term?” “Do I understand everything that I have learned so far?” With so many questions in your mind, it becomes easy for you to panic. If you ask yourself the questions above during week ten of the term, prayer and support go a long way. (Note: the last sentence is not to be mistaken for sarcasm). In any case, it is a great idea to ask yourself these questions at least halfway through the term to lessen some of the stresses that you may feel before finals week. To avoid cramming, some start to prepare for their finals at least two weeks in advance. Preparing for finals earlier may increase your confidence as you walk into that exam room. Hopefully, if you’re prepared for the test, the only letter “F” that you’ll be seeing is the “F” at the beginning of the word “final” written on the exam.
If you didn’t read all of this, just remember that you should not only believe in the fact that you can succeed, but that you should also be working toward that goal.