May 27, 2022

Start Your Semester Strong

By B&SC Blog Team

Start Your Semester Strong

Starting Your Semester Strong

Doing a few key things as classes start can set you up for a stronger performance

Let’s be honest: It can be pretty tough to mentally check back in after a winter break. Picking up a few extra shifts at work and wrapping presents for the kids can put you in a different headspace. Plus, all those cookies and holiday movies can be hard to ignore.

But even though your holiday break is just barely over, right now may be the most important time of the semester. Just as most games are won or lost before the team even takes the field, the steps you take now, as classes are just starting, can put you ahead when finals roll around.

The stronger you start, the better you’ll do this semester. The better you do this semester, the better you’ll do next semester. And sooner than you think, that amazing career you find yourself dreaming of when you wake up from your cozy nap will be a reality.

What You Can Do Now

A lot of the prep work that can make a difference isn’t really work. It’s just looking ahead, thinking about what you want and jotting down a few notes.

Set Your Goals (and Plan Your Treats)

Most students go into a class with the goal of doing “well” or “their best.” That’s great, but it’s easier to get the results you want when you have a clear, detailed idea about what exactly those results are.

Do you want to get a 90% on the midterm? Do you want to know the material well enough to teach it to someone else? Do you want to hand in a draft of your research paper early, to get your instructor’s feedback for the final draft? Everyone’s goals will be different. The important thing is to take 15 or 20 minutes and figure out what your goals will be, and commit to them by writing them down.

To give yourself that extra little push, plan how you’ll reward yourself when you achieve those goals. Don’t just commit to a 90% on the midterm. Commit to a slice of cake when you get that 90%.

Organize Your Space and Your Mind

Chances are that you’re going to do most of your studying and classwork in one location: It could be your bedroom, your dining room or just your spot on the couch. And when you’re studying, the space around you is a reflection of your mind. If your space is cluttered and hard to navigate, your mind will be cluttered and hard to navigate.

Take a few minutes to make your space neat and organized. Clean up any messes that will distract you. Set up your books and notebooks where you can easily reach for them. When you have to push through three chapters in a night, being surrounded by order will make it easier to focus.

Get Your Textbook Game Tight

There’s nothing worse than showing up for the first day of class and realizing that you absolutely need to have the one textbook you didn’t really think you needed.

Of course, the Bryant & Stratton College bookstore always has your back. But if you want to avoid the expense of buying all the books on the syllabus all at once, reach out to your instructors. They can tell you exactly which books you’ll be needing when, and they can help you figure out if you could use an older, cheaper edition of the same book.

Assign Yourself a Partner

Some classes pair students up for a semester. But if yours doesn’t, take it upon yourself to find a classmate to work with. Finding that study partner takes a bit of extra work, but if you do it, you’ll have someone who you can learn from and who can hold you accountable, as well as someone you can share your thinking with. When you have all that, you learn more and you learn it faster.

Go to Office Hours

All our instructors are available to students during office hours. Often, students don’t go to the office hours because they don’t have a specific question.

But getting answers is only one reason to drop by. The more important reason to get to know your instructor is to build a relationship that will help you through the semester, and perhaps throughout your career. Your instructor has lots of advice that never makes it into the lectures, and they can point you in directions you didn’t even know existed.

Make a point of dropping in on them, if only just to start a conversation.

Remember Those Goals? Check Your Progress

The goals you set for yourself before class began can push you toward success but only if you remember that you set them. As the semester progresses, make time in your schedule (not much; 10 minutes a week should do) to sit down and review your goals. Do they still make sense? Are you on track to meet them? Ask yourself what you have to do in the coming week to make sure you get a 95% on the midterm.

Work Now, Win Later

It’s OK if your mind is still in break mode. That’s what academic breaks are for, after all. But as your student-brain comes back in the coming days, remember that taking a few extra steps now, even if they aren’t steps you’ve taken before, can take you further than you ever thought – throughout both the semester and your career.

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