Once again, that oh so intimidating time of year has come around – first day of classes. And whether you’re a bright-eyed freshman excited to finally be away from home and enjoying the adventurous college life or a senior who has sworn to herself that this year she’ll finally be ready for the semester ahead (as well as promising to avoid skipping class because you forgot to do the reading… again), these tips should be of use to you. So keep them nearby when the third week has hit and partying seems like the most important thing to do; because if you don’t keep your grades up, what’s really there to keep mom and dad from dragging you home by your ear?
1. Stay Organized
Sounds simple enough, right? But we’ve all been there. It’s been weeks since you lost your syllabus, but that didn’t bother you much because the prof has always been faithful at reminding everyone about homework. But then all of a sudden, you come to class and everyone’s bedraggled and slumped over study guides. Wait, is there a test today??
So maybe it wasn’t as bad as a forgotten test or paper, but there are those times that a project or a study guide or journal entry sneaks up on you and there’s absolutely nothing to do but hide in your room in shame and cry about the mistake.
So, have a spare copy of your syllabus somewhere handy, or write out all of your homework in a date book or on a calendar. Yeah, the syllabus might change, but at least you now you don’t have to rely on the lost syllabus excuse.
2. Make Friends in Class
This year is the first year that I’ve known people in every single class I’ve taken, that’s taken four years of college for that to happen. So, until that time, make sure you make friends with the people in class.
I’m not expecting you to go out there and be the social butterfly and introduce yourself to every person in the class, but know that we’re creatures of habit (blame years of assigned seating in elementary school). Inevitably, you will sit in the same seat as today the next time you have class and you’ll be irritated if someone takes your seat. And most likely those people who sat next to you will still sit there next class too. So take advantage of that fact, say ‘hi’ and trade names, emails and phone numbers. That gives you two contacts right off the bat in case you get sick and miss a class or have a question about the reading. It’s always a big help!
3. Make a Good Impression
Professors are the key to everything. And like them or not (I sure you hope like all your profs, because I definitely do), you’re with them all semester (at least). So be nice to them.
I’m not saying bring them cookies or apples (though they may like it), but smile at them, ask them how their day was and mean it, answer their questions and don’t ignore them… ever.
So, even if your professor doesn’t ask it, keep the cellphone in your bags and pay attention to them while they’re speaking. They’ll remember you for it.
And in those participation grade-heavy classes, answer their questions. Even if you’re shy about talking in front of groups, make a point to say at least one thing every day in class. It is way better than being the kid who sits in the back texting, doodling and ignoring everything anyone says.
4. Ask Questions
They say “there’s no stupid question, only stupid answers” (or something like that) and you’ll learn that it’s really important to ask questions if you haven’t already.
Freshman, college doesn’t tend to go into subjects until they’re dead like in high school. If you don’t understand something today, you may not understand it next class either. So make sure that you raise your hand and ask a question if you don’t know what the professor is talking about.
But if you’re shy about talking up in class, don’t worry. Professors tend to stay after class or have office hours the same day as the class. Go ask them while the problem is still in mind. They’ll love that you took the initiative to get it all right the first time around and the one-on-one help never hurts anyone either.
5. Have Fun
Maybe the most obvious advice I could have possibly given but also the most important. All work and no play makes our readers dull girls so make sure you take a break from the piles of work you have sometimes. Whether it’s for an episode of “Switched at Birth” or doing nails with your roommate, or even a five minute break to read the Her Campus Study Breaks, having fun is important.
And we are definitely fans of the idea that if you do well that week in classes, you deserve a night out on the town. Maybe go down to the AMC and check out a movie – I hear they have new reclining chairs!