It’s the beginning of a new semester, and it feels like just yesterday that I told myself Fall 2013 would bring the highest GPA of my academic career. As I now look back on my grades, I can clearly distinguish certain regrets I have about how I went about my classes. The first day, week, and month of a new course can provide a crucial framework for success in a class. I have noted below some of my personal Spring 2014 academic resolutions, in hopes that they can help you succeed in your classes as well.
1) I will make better use office hours/locations: Last semester, I often found myself frustrated with questions about course material that simply couldn’t be easily explained by the textbook. This Spring, I am going to make better use of the precious hours that TA’s and professors reserve for answering such questions.
2) I will look over the entire syllabus ahead of time, and plan accordingly. It seemed that my most stressful weeks were those in which I suddenly had four midterm exams in 48 hours, a schedule catastrophe that I hadn’t noticed would be a problem. I am finally going to put my Lily Pulitzer agenda to good use by jotting down all of my major papers and tests on the monthly calendar page at the beginning of the semester, so I can distinguish which weeks will be busier than others… and prepare myself.
3) Attend every class. This wasn’t a huge problem for me. As a matter of fact, I only twice “unnecessarily” skipped a class to catch up on some much needed sleep. However, as warm weather approaches and the semester draws to a close, I will adamantly resist the inevitable temptation of opting out of a lecture for more appealing plans.
4) Make use of University Resources. I remember a friend mentioned to me that she was going to the Writing Center for help on an essay in November, and I looked at her with complete confusion. As she explained the benefits that come with having a second opinion on an important class assignment, I realized that I haven’t truly explored the many academic resources I have at my fingertips here at the University. Our school offers many tutoring services and specialized centers that serve to make us more successful students. I plan to make better use of these resources in Spring 2014.
Like all other resolutions that come with the New Year, sticking with these will require dedication and hard work. However, I expect to find that by following these four rules, my grades will benefit, and I will learn better. Hopefully these tips can be of use to you as we begin a new semester at the University of Virginia!