Wagner family, welcome back home for the Spring 2016 semester! Are you excited? I am a nerd at heart with an unrelenting passion for learning, so I know I am so ready for this semester. Now, in order to be a successful student, you need to be on top of your game from the beginning of the semester. Here are some tips to get ahead, and assure your triumph over the semester.
I know I say this all the time, but I say this for a reason. Keep track of what you are doing, the work being assigned to you, and you will have a smooth semester. Use a planner and Google Calendar to input your schedule to keep track of it. Other than that, have a folder and notebook for each of your classes, and place the syllabus in the folder so that you don't lose it. Having separate notebooks is ideal (instead of those 3 or 5 subject notebooks), because I don't like carrying around my notebooks for all my classes everyday, and I stay more organized.
Take Notes in Class by Hand.
I see so many students in a variety of my classes taking notes on their laptops, and I don't know how they do it. Writing out your notes allows you to retain the information better, because you are thinking about it as you write it. I have taken handwritten notes all my life, and struggle with typing them out. I feel like a machine when I do that, and end up distracted on the computer. Handwritten notes are your own, so they are easier to read and understand, and if you highlight or mark things as you go, you can remember little details that you may not have gotten to write.
After writing out your beautiful notes in class, take a few minutes to read through them. This is great because you are reviewing the material, and because if you find something you don't understand, you can mark it and make sure to research it or ask your professor about it. Instead of waiting for the day before your midterm to read your notes and study, do it on every night you have the class so that you are retaining the information, and making sure that it is understandable- thus giving you the time to get the right information or speak to your professor if you don't understand it.
I, like many of my peers, get really busy during the semester, and start losing touch with myself, and that is when it goes down hill. If you have a hobby, make sure that you are being organized and fitting it into your schedule on a regular basis. I personally love to paint and design my nails, so I make sure that I can give myself a manicure every 2-3 days because it is therapeutic and I get to distance myself from everything else in my life. If you ever see me with my nails not painted, I am probably not okay, so please take the time to check in on me! Whatever it is that you like to do- painting, writing, playing an instrument, baking, playing a sport- make sure to leave time for it so that you don't get too caught up in things that might make you unhappy, or stressed out.
You have 24 hours in a day, so you have plenty of time outside of classes and classwork to meet new people and hang out. Join a couple of clubs that pertain to your interests, thereby meeting new people. Hang out with your friends (preferably off campus) and do something new. You live in New York City! Don't get so caught up in school that you forget that there is an entire city for you to explore and experience.
As college students, most us probably have classes in the morning. Take the time to get up a little earlier to grab some breakfast, because we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will wake you up in the morning, refresh you, give you energy, and prepare you for your day. We all deserve to sleep in, but when possible, don't skip breakfast.
Tip: There are tons of things you can cook in your microwave if you are running a little late, such as mug cakes, omelettes, french toast and more, which you can find here.
You always need to be your biggest cheerleader, because only you know what you are capable of, your limits, and your passions, so you can motivate and push yourself better than anyone else can. Just remember that you are intelligent, that you are here for a reason, and that you are resilient. Struggling is a natural part of growing up and learning, so allow that to be an experience that you grow from, not something that hinders you in the long run. Likewise, college always comes with new challenges, but accept them and overcome because this is how you move up and learn. Don't remain stagnant and comfortable, leave your box and believe that there is always something better for you. And if you aren't confident, just fake it till you make it- I promise you, this works wonders.
I hope you all have an incredible, minimally stressful semester! Be the best you can be.