The first day of classes, students start with blank pages, open minds and an opportunity to build on strengths and improve study habits.
Whether first-year student or senior, Perry Patterson, associate dean of academic advising, says each new term means students start at square one. “New classes and new professors give students the chance to start strong and meet their goals,” Patterson says.
He offers these tips for getting the most out of classes:
• Have a positive outlook. Focus on the joy of learning something new and challenging yourself, especially if you are taking a class in an area you may not feel is your strength. Patience and persistence are critical skills to develop for academic success and for success in life generally.
• Develop a start to finish study schedule. Put the whole semester’s study time on a detailed calendar. Note your classes, assignments, papers, and tests and mark out regular study time. “Once you have a plan outlined, your mind will be free to focus on other tasks or simply enjoy the moment,” says E.J. Masicampo, a psychology professor at Wake Forest. “Research shows that specifying when and where you are going to do something will help you meet your goals. It also helps to think about how you will keep to your plan when distractions occur,” he says.
• Ask questions, and take advantage of faculty office hours. Successful students ask the most questions and talk to their professors. They go to class regularly. Take time during the first two weeks of class to stop by your professor’s office to introduce yourself and talk about any concerns you may have.
• Build a network of support. Find strong, reliable friends who share your academic interests and support each other. Know where to get help if you need it.
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