The end of summer as we approach the fall season is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s football season but more importantly, it’s the start of a new school year. It is particularly exciting for those entering college, especially in their freshman year or first semester in college. Just like football, everyone starts on a level playing field with a whole season ahead and every opportunity for a winning season.
All students have the opportunity to set new goals and prepare for the exciting challenges presented in the upcoming year. A student’s team includes professors, advisors, counselors, university staff members, student leaders and peers. All can play a key role towards a successful year.
For the opening play, step outside of your comfort zone.
Go to a cultural event or program that you may not be familiar with.
There are so many opportunities to learn inside and outside of the classroom so make some new friends. That may sound generic or like a risky move, but it only takes a little effort. Think of something you like or can relate to and join a student organization in your major, religion, interest, culture, or an intramural team.
You can usually find more information about these groups at the student organization fair or the university’s website. Most schools hold a fair during the first few weeks of classes. For instance, at Woodbury University, we have 30 student-run organizations and host our college fair during the first week of class. Our students are excited for you to come to their meetings and events, as they were once in the same exact spot as you and joining their group was most likely what made them feel like they made the right move.
Go to at least three meetings for three different organizations. I can almost guarantee you will find one that fits.
If possible, don’t work your first semester.
Instead, take time to learn this new “league” and all the resources to help you have a winning season. If you have to find a job, look for opportunities to work on campus. There are openings for work-study positions, the bookstore, or dining services. Most likely, there will be other student employees and you will get to work with great campus employees who can help show you the ropes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
It doesn’t matter how big or small you feel the matter may be. Talk to your professor, your resident assistant, the orientation leader you met before classes started, or the administrative assistant at the front desk. If they cannot help, they will help you find someone that will. They are all a part of the team and want to see you succeed.
The most important thing, of course, is to do well in your classes.
The formula is SSS or Six Steps to Success.
1. Every class, every day
Go to class every day no matter how tired you are or if you don’t feel well. If you don’t have to go to the doctor, you can go to class!
2. Be prepared!
Read the chapters, do the assignments before class. This means you need to follow your syllabus and be prepared to ask questions and participate during class.
3. Take notes
At this point, you have read the information, heard the information, and now you are writing the information.
4. Review your notes after each class
This will help you learn the information. You will also be able to fully understand the information. If there is anything you are still unsure of, go to the next step.
5. Talk to your professor
Make sure you understand the material. You also want the instructor to know who you are and that you are interested in doing well in the class. If you need a little more help, get a tutor (at Woodbury, it’s free at the tutoring center), or join a study group. If you are doing well, volunteer to help someone in the class. It will help you remember the information.
6. Study for your exams
At this point, you have put in all of the work and it’s a review of the material. No need to cram or panic, you know this material!
If you follow these six steps, in each of your classes, you should do well. You can rest peacefully because even if you don’t get an A, you will have done your best. You don’t have to be a genius to do well in college. College graduates simply put in the work. It takes perseverance and dedication, but it will be well worth the effort.
College should be a full, well-rounded experience. It will be up to you to make college the experience that you want it to be. If you adhere to this game plan, you will have a winning season!