The start of the semester is here and hopefully by now you have figured out where all of your classes are. Now you need a few tips on how to get your semester off to the right start. We hope to help you make the most of this fresh start with tips about planning/scheduling, studying spots/groups, making the most of your resources on campus, and getting involved.
You’ve spent the past week being bombarded by future assignments, projects, and paper expectations from every angle, and now it’s time to organize that information. Before you find yourself in class, panicked that you missed your first assignment or that you have a paper due next class and you don’t know the topic, find a way to organize all your assignments into one place. For some people, this means writing everything down in a planner. Color coded with stickers emphasizing importance. If the thought of a color coded planner makes you sick, that’s OK. Find something that works for you. Use google calendar, an app on your smart phone, or even a white board hanging up in your dorm room. Have one place to keep all your due dates as a reference to keep yourself on track. Not only will this help you stay on top of your school work, but you can also see some free time in your schedule, where you can plan to go out and have some fun.
A successful study session begins with where you choose to study. Picking a study spot is an important first step in making the most of your study time. If you are finding that your study habits aren’t effective, you may find that changing your study spot will bring better results. Need some ideas other than your dorm room? Try out the Cook Library, Student Union, or Starbucks if you need a change of scenery for productive study sessions.
Now that you have your study spot, it’s time to think about who you may want to study with. After you spend some time studying individually, you may find it is helpful to talk through the material with a study partner. This partner doesn’t have to be your best friend or roommate. In fact, sometimes it’s better to not be best friends with your study partners so you won’t be easily distracted. Find one or two classmates who are looking for study partners and team up!
Now that you have a planning method and a study spot and group you need to start using all of the campus resources that are available to you. The biggest resource on campus that is underutilized are your professors. They should be the first person that you go to when you have a question about your course, because they are the ones teaching the material and grading the assignments. They know what you need to be doing more than anyone else. There are also a lot of other resources on campus that are free to students such as tutoring for courses in the Academic Achievement Center and in the Writing Center. There is also free help with resumes, finding internships, and interview preparation at the Career Center. There are an abundance of resources on campus that are free of charge that you should be taking advantage of, they are just a quick “Towson Search” away.
As a freshman or transfer student, it’s very easy to walk around campus and think that you don’t know anyone. Getting involved in student organizations is a way to form new connections and friendships. There are many ways to get involved on campus. From club sports to special interest and service organizations, there’s something for everyone at Towson. Not only does getting involved give you something else to do besides classes, but it gives you an opportunity to meet people with common interests. Getting involved helps give you some sense of belonging. You have the ability to make a difference and have fun doing things with people from all walks of life. Some of the people you meet in these organizations will turn out to become lifelong friends.
Now you have the keys to making the most of the fresh start of the semester. Planning is key and it is important that you track your coursework somehow. Next you need to find a place to study that you can make your own and a group of people that will help you achieve all of your goals. You also want to be taking advantage of all of the resources available to you on campus. Lastly, get involved on campus in either a club, group, or on campus job, it will help you form friendships that could last a lifetime.
Kristy Gustavson, Steven Hand, & Marissa Insinna