How to get ahead before falling behind

By: Miranda Mowrey, Columnist

Well, the first week of classes is officially over. That “I am going to ace this semester” buzz has probably worn off and morphed into zoning out your professor as you daydream about spring break.

Fight this urge! The beginning of the semester is the perfect opportunity to create habits that will positively affect your academic success come May. The more you prepare and plan, the less stress you will have and the less time you will need to devote to school work.

Here are some things you can do now to secure your spot on the Dean’s List this semester:

Buy a planner.

Even more importantly, use it! It doesn’t have to be a pimped-out, $40 Lilly Pulitzer planner. All you need is a monthly calendar to jot down when important assignments are due. A planner will help you visualize which weeks will require more of your time, tears, and visits to Starbucks.

Get to know your professors and go to their office hours.

Getting to know a professor on a personal level is often overlooked but very beneficial. Taking advantage of office hours allows for one-on-one help and a chance to gather your professor’s advice and input about the course or even your career path. Plus, it won’t hurt to establish a good relationship with a professor when you’re sitting on the fence between an A and A-minus.

Do not underestimate the power of to-do lists.

In addition to using a monthly planner, daily or weekly to-do lists are life savers when it comes to staying on top of things and getting things done. Keeping an ongoing list of assignments, tasks, and chores you need to do diminishes the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed about all you have to accomplish.

Junior speech-pathology major Sarah Gude survives college by using her to do list.

“I write a list of what I need to do every day and even when I don’t accomplish everything, it makes me feel better to see all that I have to do right in front of me instead of trying to keep it all in my head,” Gude said. “And it feels even better to cross things off the list, too.”

Review the previous class’s notes before class starts. 

Instead of browsing Tik Tok before lecture, review the notes you took the class before. That way, come exam time, you won’t feel like you have a ton of things to memorize because you have already been reviewing the information for weeks.

All in all, it is easy to give up on the semester and have tunnel vision for spring break when you start to feel overwhelmed and overloaded. Take the semester day by day and look out for your future self by planning and preparing for your classes. Who knows what you can accomplish by putting in a little extra time and effort into your education?

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