It’s a new semester! Students have bought their textbooks, paid for parking permits and filled their shopping carts with school supplies. While some students feel that these items may be enough to prepare them for the upcoming semester, many more feel unprepared for a new semester and its pressure.
To recover from the pressure, grab a pen and start drafting a checklist, one that helps guide you toward becoming a more successful student.
The first checklist item, and the fastest method for relieving student stress, is visiting your academic counselor’s office. After browsing through university catalogues and class schedules, students can be relieved to know that there is life after General Education. A counselor will walk students through assessing possible careers, explaining the requirements needed for obtaining an Associate’s degree, and transferring to a four year institution, all for free.
The second item on the list is to attend class regularly. Professors are not parents, so it is your responsibility to attend class and keep up with the coursework. Attendance is often a small percentage of the class participation grade. If students miss too many classes, they may end the semester a letter grade lower or possibly even be dropped.
Checklist item number three is to make friends who have the same educational interests or goals. If you are a social butterfly, remember to turn off your cell phone in class and find a study buddy outside of class. An article from collegeboard.com, “The Power of Study Groups; Two Heads Are Better Than One,” explains that benefits of studying in groups include: note-taking reinforcement, sharing talents, covering more ground and having a support system, all while socializing with friends who share an interest in their education.
Number four on the list is time management. Although it is time-consuming to make a schedule, it is worth the effort. Squeezing a semester of information into an all-night study session is never as productive as studying as you go. Five cups of coffee and a five minute “power nap” can turn any student into a raw nerve end.
Invest in a giant calendar and write down everything. Assignment due dates, tests, study group meetings, appointments, meetings and class times should be penciled in along with the usual reminder notes.
Number five is to take notes about what confuses and frustrates you in your classes as well as what you understand almost immediately. It is always good to keep track of what you may need to look up later or double check when studying for a test.
Checklist item number six can be difficult, but it is important. Go to your professors when you need help in the class. Although talking to your professor may sound intimidating, remind yourself that it is their job to teach you.
Checklist item number seven is to go to the tutoring center. Woodland Community College’s Tutoring Center Specialist, Loretta Richard, explained that it is normal for students to need a second explanation, especially in the more difficult subjects like statistics. The center’s hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.
Richard explained, “In order for a student to set up a tutoring session they must first sign up by using the Request for Tutoring Services form, which must be signed by their class instructor.” After checking the schedules in the tutoring appointment book, students can set up a time to meet with a tutor.
Checklist item number eight is to go to the library. It is difficult to avoid reading or studying when you are in an environment surrounded by books.
Item number nine is to look into the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S) and the Disabled Students Program & Services (DSP&S). According to the District website, in addition to the services the counseling office can provide, the EOP&S program “includes intensive supportive services which enhance the potential for student retention, successful completion of academic and vocational programs, and transfer to other educational facilities.”
Students who may not even know they are suffering from a learning disability can seek help and advice through this program. Created in the mid-1970s, the DSP&S is another available program that focuses on specialized needs and academic success. Disabled students are assisted “with the academic accommodations needed to fully participate in all college programming.”
The tenth and final item on the list is to not be too critical of yourself. While you may have gotten a bad grade on an assignment, or not done as well as you had hoped, your professor can help you figure out what grades you need to get on your next assignments and exams to do well in the class. If you speak up, you won’t feel as though you’ve been overlooked.
Remember, an “F” is not going to kill your academic career. Your counselor can tell you how many classes you can repeat with academic forgiveness.