Friday, September 2, 2011

7 Ways to Be Successful Early in the Semester

Now is the time of year when classes have just started, and students are beginning to force themselves back into the academic routine. While everyone probably feels like they can slack off at the start of the semester and make up for it later in the year, starting off on your best foot can really help you once it comes time for mid-terms and finals. In order to help out with the end of the summer drag, the WVU Writing Center is offering seven easy tips to help students be successful early this academic year.

1. Come to Class: I know that no one wants to be awake and thoughtful for an 8:30 AM class, but simply showing up on time, listening to lectures, and taking a few notes will seriously aid you in the long run. By doing this, students know what the teacher covers from a particular chapter in the book or section of the class and can be better prepared when it comes time to study. Not to mention the fact that nobody should lose any easy points for attendance.

2. Write down Due Dates for Assignments Early: Once I receive all the syllabi for my classes, the first thing I do is record every due date for a paper and every test date. This way, you can see which week or day will be particularly difficult from having multiple assignments and exams overlapping. Later, on, you will thank yourself for the early warning.

3. Put Your Best Effort into Classes Early: Even though everyone is tempted to put off readings, papers, and studying at the beginning of the semester, it’s always best to keep on top of your class work at the start so that you won’t get overloaded with work once it comes time for the first exam and mid-terms. Also, you will perform better overall if you stay ahead of the work early before finding out exactly how difficult a class will be.

4. Make Lists: Sometimes the pure act of listing what needs to be done will help you remember to do school or house work and give you the motivation to complete it. I know that it’s tempting to simply watch TV or surf the Internet whenever you get a break, but keeping a to-do list will remind you to budget that time wisely. Then once you feel good about crossing off your work as done, you’ll enjoy checking up on Facebook or watching TV that much more.

5. Get on a Good Sleep Schedule: Figuring out the time that you should be in bed by may seem very juvenile, but getting a good night of sleep is imperative to being rested and ready for class the next day. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be more motivated to do school work when you aren’t drowsing off into a mid-day nap. While becoming adjusted to a different bedtime routine is difficult at first, once you get into the groove of being in bed by midnight or so, you’ll find it hard to break your new healthy pattern of sleeping, that is until the weekend rolls around.

6. Don’t be Afraid of Your Professors: Making a good impression on your teachers early on in the year will definitely help you at the end of year when grades are given. I’m not saying that you will automatically get the best grade in the class without putting in any effort, but I am saying that your professor will look upon you more favorably. First, you should try to sit at the front of the class and not be afraid to participate if the opportunity presents itself. Second, you should try to visit professors during their office hours to get extra help. Not many students take advantage of the opportunity to get to know their teachers during this time and get extra feedback on papers and studying.

7. If you get behind, don’t get stressed out! This advice doesn’t mean that you should give up or not try; it means that getting overly stressed will only hurt your performance and health in the long run.

The WVU Writing Center wishes students good luck and a great job this new semester. Following these tips is an easy way to get a head start on the academic year. Though some may sound like common sense, it’s always helpful to have a reminder of what we should be doing, especially when it seems like the hard choice.

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