We’ve been back at school for a few weeks now, and your motivation may already be fading. We at the Honors College know how you feel, so we’ve compiled a short list of school advice, on-campus resources, and study tips to help you roll towards midterms with confidence.
- Meet your professors. Go to their office hours, or stay to chat for a minute after class. A graduate from the class of ’13 says (on the bulletin board in the Honors Center), “Not only does this create a good relationship for your class, it could turn into an opportunity to assist with their research or receive a glowing letter of recommendation.”
- If you have a particularly difficult class, get ahead of it early. It’s no secret that Organic Chemistry can be tough. If you can tell in the first few days that a class is going to consume much of your study time, schedule a meeting with a peer tutor or ask your professor for extra practice. Not only will this help you keep up, but it will show your initiative and desire to engage with difficult material.
- Go to the Center for Student Learning. This campus resource is a student’s best friend. Located on the first floor of the Addlestone Library, the CSL offers assistance through several different channels. The Writing, Math, Foreign Languages, Accounting, and Speaking Labs are all open to any students who want to come in and work on homework or big assignments; they’re manned by other students who are experts in those subjects and are willing to answer any questions you might have. The CSL also offers Study Skills Seminars, where they teach students better time-management skills, goal setting, effective note-taking, good study habits, advice for group projects, and much more. (Procrastinators, we’re talking to you.)
- Do the extra credit. This is a no-brainer. If you get extra points for good attendance, don’t skip class. If you have an opportunity to see a guest speaker or seminar, do it. Duh.
Yet we all know that half the battle of college is NOT academic. It’s those other issues—independence, time-management, personal finances, social and personal changes—many of which pop up at the worst possible time. Here’s some non-school-related advice to help you stay on track away from home.
- Embrace the routine. It may seem boring, but staying on schedule is one of the best things you can do to succeed in college. Get into a routine early—having regular, built-in times for studying, sleeping, and eating ensures that you are taking care of your body as well as your academic obligations. Making time for exercise is always a great idea, too.
- Know what’s coming. Take some time each week to check your syllabus or planner (whatever works for you) and review the upcoming week. Instead of relying on your memory, writing things down or keeping them in an electronic calendar prevents little things from slipping through the cracks. The College has free planners for this purpose; if this method doesn’t work for you, use your smart phone to set reminders when you have meetings or assignments due.
- Find the balance. The key to happiness in any area of your life is harmony. You DON’T have to be in the library 24/7; even if you make a 4.0, you’ll be miserable. If you need a lazy afternoon watching Netflix, indulge once in a while. If you enjoy being social, plan hang-out time with your friends on the weekends. If you allow yourself to do the things you enjoy as well as make time to fulfill your obligations, you will achieve an inner calm and stability that will make you more successful in all areas of your life. (When in doubt, ALWAYS eat the cupcake.)
- Take advantage of CofC’s free counseling services. Some life events are hard to predict, and dealing with personal issues in the face of a demanding course schedule is totally overwhelming. If you’re having trouble keeping that inner calm, try out the Counseling and Substance Abuse Services located on the second floor of the Lightsey Center. They can help with anything from roommate issues to more serious problems, like excessive drinking or drug use. No one has to know you’re there except you, and it often makes a world of difference just to talk to someone about your problems. If you’re looking for advice from other students, try meeting with a Peer Counselor (right next to the CAS office) Monday through Thursday from 5:00-8:30 pm. You can talk on the phone, live chat, or meet in person with a fellow student who can offer advice or just listen. (Emergencies should be reported to Public Safety’s Emergency line at (843) 953-5611.)
We hope this information helps you have your most successful semester yet. Your college years are FUN—for making new friends, tackling new challenges, and learning to be an independent adult. Take advantage of all your resources in these exciting years and enjoy yourself!