A new semester is upon us and with it comes a fresh slate and the opportunity to succeed. Success, although dependent on certain factors that may be out of our hands, is directly related to the choices we make throughout the semester, particularly when it first begins.
Here are ten tips sure to help you start the spring semester off on the right foot and stay focused in the months ahead.
- Brainstorm – Compile a list of goals that you would like to achieve throughout the semester or by the semester’s end. Maybe you have specific grades that you hope to earn in certain classes or maybe you want to join a study group. Jot down bigger goals as well, such as internship opportunities or apprenticeships that you may want to pursue. Don’t forget your dream jobs, too! Bottom line: This list is all about motivation. If it pumps you up and pushes you to work hard, write it down.
- Don’t be invisible –You may prefer to sit in the back of the class and listen quietly, but doing so also makes it easy to zone out. Instead, sit near the front and make an effort to engage with other students during classroom discussion. Take it a step further and forge relationships with your instructors, too. You are more than just a name on an attendance sheet, so make your presence known. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Chances are, other students have the same or similar questions and aren’t speaking up.
- Read the syllabus –This is so important. The syllabus will tell you everything you need to know about upcoming exams, quizzes, readings, and projects. Copy the important dates into your CCV student planner to stay organized. The syllabus will also explain your instructor’s attendance policy, which is just as important to be aware of as exam dates. In some cases, attendance alone ends up being a huge part of your final grade.
- Meet with your advisor regularly –You should plan to meet with your advisor regularly throughout the semester even after you’ve scheduled your classes. CCV’s advisors are knowledgeable and have close ties within the surrounding communities that can prove to be handy should you decide to pursue an internship or apprenticeship. Academic advisors can also help you set short and long-term goals, address academic concerns or issues that might arise, and assist in transferring to another college, should you choose to do so. You can make an appointment with your advisor whenever you have a question or want to share a success. Your advisor will welcome the chance to know you better, which allows him or her to provide more personalized advice and support. You can contact your advisor via phone or email to make an appointment. You can find their contact info on the homepage of the CCV portal.
- chat from the library website! Make time for the library – Try to fit a few hours of “library time” in each week. Since each CCV location doesn’t have its own physical library, this can mean finding a quiet space to study or review notes before class or even visiting your local public library. The College’s Hartness Library librarians are always available to help you with research papers and the like or to answer any questions you may have. Call (1-800-431-0025), text (802-778-9584), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or
- Take advantage of tutors and Learning and Career Centers – CCV has 12 Learning and Career Centers, one at each of its CCV academic centers across the state, so take advantage of this valuable resource! Learning and Career Center staff can help you with a slew of subjects like writing and math and can also help you brush up on useful skills like Portal navigation, research techniques, and basic computer skills. Staff can also refer you to either an on-ground or e-tutor to further assist you.
- Stay organized –Make daily to-do lists so you know what each of your days is going to look like. This ensures time management and helps to keep you accountable for your daily tasks. Also, stay on top of homework assignments and upcoming quizzes, projects, exams, etc. by clearly noting due dates and other important dates in your CCV student planner. Keep study materials and other notes tidy and organized in folders labeled by class. Staying organized omits unnecessary stress and helps you remain focused throughout the semester.
- Minimize distraction – Turn off your cell phone before class! You can survive without it and your friends and family will understand if you don’t answer their text messages right away. Plus, it’s rude to click away on your phone while other students are trying to pay attention and your instructor is trying to teach. Don’t think they can’t see you texting under your desk! You’ve made the decision to enroll at CCV in hopes of obtaining a degree, so make the most of your time here and be fully present during each of your classes. Save the texting and Facebook-ing for another time. Your future self will thank you.
- Create a study space – Make sure you have a designated place at home that is both quiet and free from distractions to which you can dedicate homework and the like. This is particularly important for those students who find it impossible to schedule library time throughout the week. Having a study space will help you get in the zone and be more productive. It can be as simple as your kitchen table as long as you can focus, although close proximity to the fridge may result in frequent snack breaks.
- Keep a positive attitude –Perhaps one of the most important things to have in your back pocket this semester is a positive attitude. If you stay in a positive mindset, even when things get stressful, you will find yourself being more successful than if you were to sulk and pout every time something doesn’t go your way. Say you get a C on a test you studied hard for and had hoped to ace. While the grade isn’t ideal, view it as an opportunity to explore the resources that CCV has to offer (see #4, #5, #6) and vow to utilize them to do better next time. Never beat yourself up! Remember, everyone at CCV wants you to succeed, but most importantly, you have to want to succeed.