New Academic Year, New You

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And we’re back.

Back to coffee-powered cram sessions, naps in your 8 o’clock lecture, mortifying call-outs by your professor for said naps, narcoleptic body jolts and the contemplation of a night out with your dorm mates or a late night at your desk, alongside every other difficulty college students have grown to collectively embrace as the “college struggle.” Of course, that’s only if things are left the way they are.

Use every resource. Take it from a sophomore who went to office hours three times last year and the Career Center once — take all the help you can get.

Professors have office hours for you to get answers you can’t figure out yourself, so go to them. More often than not, the things you learn in there are exactly what you need to know for the midterms and the finals ahead.

If you’re needing a little more of an edge in your classes, the Academic Resource Center offers walk-in and appointment tutoring on a wide variety of subjects. Head on over there if you need a little more help.

For anyone seeking help beyond prereq and breadth courses, your academic advisors can tell you what classes you need to take next and what to do once you graduate; go talk to them if you’re feeling lost.

Prepare yourself for the road further ahead. Whether you’ve never worked a day in your life before or you’ve swum in the pool of job applicants for years, the Career Center is the go-to place for all your career-related needs, entry-level or professional. They can show you the countless places you can work at now or later and provide tips on becoming the perfect job applicant.

For the one instance I went into the center last year, it was to review a mock resume as a class assignment. The employees were nice and no one seemed cranky from overwork, which was a definite plus. When I got someone to look over my resume, he was thorough; he showed me “action words” to put in my job descriptions, asked me for anything I might have left out, judged the organization and neatness of the resume, and even told me the order I ought to put my experiences in.

I’d go more in depth, but I misplaced his copy. So a sub-tip: don’t forget where your resources are.

The class stipulated that I had to plan an appointment with the center, but I held it off for so long that I could only do a walk-in. If you need to plan an appointment for any of these resources, plan them as early as weeks, even a month, in advance; time slots fill up fast. Appointments are for any matters that are more “in-depth” than what a walk-in could be used for, like a four year plan or a major change.

Schedule everything and stick to it. Every smartphone has a memo-book, a clock, and a calendar. Use them.

If your professor has office hours, write down the room that they’re having them in. If you keep forgetting what classes you have this quarter and when you have them, set an alarm for each so that you don’t have to remember. If you know when your midterm is, devote a week of time to studying without distraction. Time is the one thing we can’t get back and it’s invaluable to know just how much we’ve got on our hands. Your circadian rhythm will thank you for every spare second you give to it, especially if you learn how to not procrastinate.

It’s much better to make a physical schedule and stick to it than to only tell yourself that you’ll get around to work. If the only scheduling you have is that you’ll do it “soon,” personal experience tells me that you’re going to shove everything you’ve got to do into the last minute.

It’s best to take up your responsibilities piece by piece throughout the week, the month, and the year, rather than all at once. Don’t be vague either; be as clear and exact with your plans as you can so that you can’t make an excuse for yourself to hold things off even longer.

Figure out why you’re here. Every student in college in some way or another is trying to find that out for themselves, no exceptions. Some can do it without trying, and others need more than a little help, but regardless the reasons that we function are the greatest motivators ever.

Our motivations drive us forward, and we’ll stumble if we lose sight of them or realize we don’t believe in what got us started. Make it a priority to resolve those problems, otherwise you’re not going to put your best into anything you do.

To those that have forgotten their motivations, take some time away from work to relax, recuperate and remember. To those that haven’t a clue what their motivation really is, it’s undeniable that the true reasons for you are out there somewhere: take a chance and look for them.

We’re back, and if we make the right choices and give every task the best we can, we can make this year better than ever.

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