As the first week of classes draws to a close (at least for my school), it is amazing to see all the different perspectives running around campus. Some students are already fully immersed in the college experience. More than a few of them are still walking around campus with eyes wide with panic. The first week of classes is over. You have (hopefully) already been to all your classes at least once, received your syllabi, and have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen over the course of the semester. So, as you’re sitting at your tiny desk with stacks of new (or at least new to you) textbooks framing your computer screen, a sudden thought hits you. You are REALLY in college. Okay, hotshot, now what?
I have never seen anyone for whom the college experience is the same as high school. Indeed, that is the way it is supposed to be. We do not LEARN anything as long as the status quo is maintained. We are here to better ourselves, right? Well, that will involve some growing pains from time to time.
What can you do now to improve your college experience? Well, first, get a notebook or folder. There is a lot of important information you need to track. You can do this either electronically or with paper copies, but it needs to be done. Keep copies of all your syllabi in one place. That way, you know where they are at all times. Next, get a clean sheet of paper. Write down the contact information (Office location, phone number, email address, and office hours at the very least) of every professor and teaching assistant. Also include the information for your advisor. If you need to get in touch with people in a hurry, the last thing you need is to be running around in a panic trying to find contact information.
The next thing you need to do is get planner and write out your classes for each week. You can use one online (Georgia College students have one through their Google Apps powered Bobcat email) or keep a paper copy. It doesn’t matter HOW you track everything. It just matters that you DO track it. Also, go through your syllabi and make a list of every major assignment that is due, which class it requires it, and the date it is due. A spreadsheet program works great for this. Sort by due date and print it off. Actually, print several copies. Keep one in your main notebook. Keep one at your desk. Keep one in your book bag. As you complete each assignment, mark it off. It will give you a great sense of accomplishment, I assure you. Finally, go on the school’s website and write down all the important dates for the term. When is the last day to drop a class? When does registration for the next semester begin? Are there any holidays during the term?
Organization is key for education regardless of the level. A wonderfully written paper is no good to anyone if you forget to submit it. With a proper perspective and time management, you will be able to maintain your wellbeing academically, socially, and emotionally.