Every September is a fresh start. It’s the beginning of a new school year and often, this is the time in which students have established goals in order to stay on track. For freshmen students, it’s of high importance to be able to adjust to the transition from high school to university, whereas, for returning students, they have resolutions that they want to uphold for the upcoming school year to avoid the mistakes that were made in the past. Regardless of whether you are new to the system or not, here are a few tips that will guide you in the path to success:
Go to class:
This deems to be the most logical tip of all, however, over the course of the semester, students often become unmotivated and well… lazy. It is understandable and we all experience it, nonetheless, this is where it all falls through. In order to accomplish the average you are hoping to achieve it is necessary that you attend lectures. It makes it easier for students to understand things thoroughly when attending class, since the professor explains the content in simpler terms than the textbook or slideshow ever will. Another advantage of going to class is getting information first hand on assignments and exams. Often times professors will provide a handout with instructions but being in class allows you to get information the handout does not provide, including questions you and other students might have that the professor will answer during class, as well as give you advice on what to do and what to avoid.
While I’ve heard many students compare seminars to a group therapy session, writing them off is an extremely dangerous decision. Attendance and participation are crucial in seminars since they count towards your final mark. Yes, they may not be worth a big portion of your grade, but they can easily make or break your average. Participation also provides the T.A. (teaching assistant) with an idea of where you are and the level of comprehension you have regarding the content. Seminars are a lot of help since it’s a smaller group of students and it allows you to go over the course material that you didn’t understand, or review what you already do understand. Lastly, it is much easier, and often times, less intimidating asking a T.A than the courses professor. They will provide you with a more crude answer and different perspective since they are students as well.
Another clichéd tip, but does it ever help. Organization may come off as a hassle, but it can make the difference between going to bed at 11:00 p.m. and not sleeping at all. Staying on top of everything can be hard if you don’t structure yourself. A calendar is crucial for all university students as it allows you to keep track of what assignments you have finished and what ones you haven’t started. Organization also involves saving documents properly on your laptop and creating folders that will make it easier to find all your files if needed. For example: create a folder with the year you are in, then create another folder within that folder labelled semester one/two, and within those, create a folder for each class (and if you want to get even more meticulous you can create a folder for lectures and one for seminars/assignments). Keeping assignments that are handed back to you will allow you to look back at them and make sure you avoid making the same mistakes twice.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important that you have a thorough understanding on what you are learning, and you are clear on what you are doing and studying for every assignment, midterm and exam. Asking questions won’t make you seem any less clever; instead, it will put you at an advantage and will make the process of studying or working on an assignment smoother.
Manage time wisely and stay balanced:
Although school is a priority, ensuring that you don’t go crazy is also important. The workload is heavy and tedious but it is always essential that you take a break and manage your time so that you are able to complete your tasks in a timely manner, while also being able to do so in a relaxed way. Allow yourself to work on your assignments/study for a few hours and then take a break and go to the gym, hangout with a friend, have a snack, or watch an episode (note: just ONE episode, not the whole season) of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. Managing your time this way makes your school experience less stressful, and it enables your mind to feel at ease from time to time, balancing work and relaxation perfectly.