Summer has come to a close. By now, most college students should already be in back-to-school mode. Well, everyone but those who attended summer school. Those folks never got out of the academic groove, so they don’t really need to find a way back in. But for everyone else, whether you’ve been away from campus for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, it’s time to hit the books.
There is a wide range of people strapping on their backpacks and getting ready for the new college term. Whether you’re beginning your first college experience, a student who is transferring, or starting graduate school, there are many new things on your plate right now. Change is the name of the game, and that can be difficult if you haven’t planned accordingly. But, don’t let it get you down. If you become distracted or overwhelmed, you can lose your focus and your grades can suffer. If that happens, you could end up working the rest of the term – and potentially longer – trying to repair your GPA. That can be frustrating, and costly if you have to retake a class.
Here are five things to help you get started on a positive note in your new college term.
Review your class schedule and identify any areas that could be problematic. Is lab work not your forte? Then you’ll have to work a little harder this term on your sciences. Not a morning person? If you have early morning classes, you’ll need to reduce your late-night social schedule. Know your limitations. Basically, you need to be in tune with your schedule, so you can make plans early to clear any hurdles that may arise, both personally and academically.
If you are struggling in a class, or have concerns about a particular assignment, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The first and best place to start is with your professor. Contrary to what you may have heard, those who teach do so because they like students! They don’t want you to fail, and will usually assist you if you give them the chance. If there is a concern in the classroom, they can help you find a solution. If tutoring is recommended, they can often direct you to the help you need. If you fail to use this valuable resource, you are only hurting yourself.
Don’t keep yourself in a shell. Develop a network of friends who share the same class schedule as you. The benefits of this are off the charts. Whether you use social media, actual conversations or a combination, these connections need to be made. Within the first few weeks, you should have at least one person in each class that you can use as a point of contact. This could be for study purposes, or someone to get class notes from in the event you are absent. Besides that, seeing familiar faces each time you enter a classroom reminds you that you’re not alone. There are others there in the trenches with you!
Regardless of whether you work better electronically, or with a pen and paper, you’ve got to get organized. Electronic devices are wonderful, but sometimes they leave us almost too comfortable. If you are seeking something different, something a bit outside the norm, perhaps a dry erase board is the answer. You can track tests, quizzes and assignments in advance, which will help keep you focused. When it comes to being organized, there’s no right or wrong way. If it keeps you from being surprised by a test, then it’s worth implementing.
And finally, just…be
With all of the stress of a new term, you’ve got to unwind a little bit. So, do what you do to relax…just be. Whether it’s running, video games, playing with the dog or hanging out with friends — whatever you need to do to help you cope with change, make sure it’s a part of your routine. By now, hopefully you have some ideas on how to make a smooth transition back into the classroom. Academic success can be yours if you stay focused and prepare a solid path. And having a plan in place in advance could help you save time, money and your GPA.