The Ultimate Back to School Guide for College Students: Part II was originally published on Firsthand.
Getting back into the swing of things after a long summer break can be tough, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to help get you in the right frame of mind. If you haven’t read part one yet, you can do so here. I’d strongly advise reading part one before continuing, as we will be referencing certain aspects of it here. Once you’re all caught up, let’s go ahead and dive right into the remaining set of tips for a successful start to the school year.
Communicate with Your Professors
Proper communication is something we cover a whole lot, and it’s for good reason. Your professors might be instructing hundreds of students per semester, so it’s likely they won’t remember each and every individual. Once you’ve looked over your syllabus for a particular course, you should take the time to reach out to your professor to go over various details such as their preferences and expectations.
The advantage here is that not only will you receive more detailed information about the course directly from your professor, but you’ll be demonstrating your dedication to your studies. Your professor will remember this, and might even be more inclined to give you some leeway here and there if it’s absolutely necessary – just don’t abuse it. Additionally, there is no shame in contacting your professor during the course of the semester if you have a question or are unsure about something.
Keep a Journal
An academic journal, that is! We’ve talked a bit about how writing things down helps you to more effectively retain information, and that is exactly why an academic journal can be such a huge advantage. In the first part of this list, we spoke about different ways to study, and how trying new methods can be beneficial. What we want to do here is keep a running log of our study sessions, and what we’ve learned.
For example, if you used flash cards or studied with a friend, write down the information you learned into your academic journal once you’ve finished studying. This is especially helpful in the event you studied with a friend, as their perspectives or the questions they’ve chosen to ask can vary greatly from your own, providing you with a new view of the information at hand. Keeping a record of these varied perspectives will give you a better depth of knowledge and understanding of the topic, while writing it down will help you to better absorb the information, and leave you with a nice reference point for later on.
Don’t Forget Your Friends and Family
With all these tips, we’re better organized, well prepared, and ready to take on another year of intense coursework. But what about having some fun once in a while? Your cool new calendar that you’ve been updating will help you to identify dates where you’ll have some free time to hang out with friends, engage in your favorite hobby, or call mom. In addition to this, your improved sleep schedule and studying habits will give you more time to take a break now and then.
Taking time away from your studies will relieve stress, and will give you some time to rest your mind and body. If you’re spending all your time studying, you’re likely to burn out, which will have a negative impact on your well-being, as well as on your GPA. Knowing your limits is key to proper time management, and once you’ve got a plan in place, your instincts will tell you when you should hit the books, or when you need to relax and recuperate.
With these tips in mind, you can get a nice head start on the school year. Remember that having a plan and staying organized will help you remain calm, collected, and focused. If you feel overwhelmed, step away for a little while and take a short walk, and never be afraid to ask your professors for help if you need it. With a little preparation, you’ll be ready to take on the school year with positivity and enthusiasm – two key ingredients to a great GPA.