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Start Off Your College Semester on the Right Foot - Part 2

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Are you or your loved one heading off to college soon and want to start off the semester on the right foot?  Or perhaps you have already been at college for a semester or two and are just now realizing that you are not getting what you expected out of your college experience.  Either way, it is never too early or it is never too late to start maximize your time at college.  Let’s face it, your time there is going to fly by faster than you think.  Listed below I have put a few suggestions for you or your loved one to really maximize their time at college.  Please keep in mind that is a two part article, so be sure to check out the first article as not to miss any suggestions. 

Get Involved On Campus

Whether you go to large university, private college or your local community college, getting involved on campus is always a great thing to do for a number of reasons.  The most prevalent purpose to get yourself involved on campus is simply to meet people, make some friends and have some kind of social life outside the classroom.   Let’s face it, not many people attend a college where they will know everyone just like back in high school.  In fact, your first year is your roughest year because you really do not know any at all. 

But wait, there is more.  Getting yourself involved on campus will also help you learn and grow as person too.  You will be able to interact with people who also share a passion with the same things that you are passionate about.  When two or more people get together to share ideas or talk about a commonality, friendships are easily formed and kept. 

So the logical question to ask yourself now is, how can I get involved on campus?  You can do any number of things like work a job on campus, join an activity club like a bible study, play in an intramural sport league or even join a fraternity/sorority.  I highly suggest checking out your schools intra-web to look for different clubs on campus.  Also, I would definitely check out the community bulletin boards for club announcements and meeting dates as well. 

Whatever your passion may be, it is highly likely that your college already has a club for it.  If a club does not exist for it, you can always be that leader that goes out on the limb and starts it themselves.  

Meet Your Professors

Teacher Greet

Whether you attend a large university, private college or a community college, it is always good to meet your professors.  This is especially important if these professors are going to teach other classes in your major.  On a personal note, I attended a private college where our average class size was 25 people.  After the first week or two where students would drop or add a class, the professors would start to take notice of the reoccurring faces in their lectures.  At the end of a class, I made it a point to introduce myself to my professors.

I would simply walk down to their lecture table and just tell them my name, where I was from, what my major was and why I choose their class.  Something as simple as that had such a huge influence on my semester.  As I would walk around campus going to the coffee shop, the gym or the library, I would bump into my professors.  I would only chat with them briefly and then move about to continue my business.  But sure enough, the next time I saw them in class they would make it an appoint to say hi to me.  Later on in the semester as I would bump into my professors around campus, they would let me know of important assignments that were going to come up.  If I missed a class or was late on an assignment, they would let me know what I missed and even give me a bit of an extension to turn my project in. 

 Due to the fact that I attended a small private college, I would have the same professors teach other classes in my major.  Because I had already established a relationship with my professors, this was a huge advantage to me in class.  As I mentioned above, I got the heads up on future assignments and even a little more grace time to complete a project if I was really tied up with other classes.  My teachers knew that I had a good sense of humor and so they would often bust my chops in class, all in good fun of course.  But that only solidified in my mind that establishing a relationship with them was key and crucial in my success for the semester.  

Find a Good Study Spot

Study

If you want to have a successful semester and get some good grades, you have got to have a good place to clear your mind and study.  The many distractions that plague our mind and surroundings is staggering.  From test messages, to parties, to club activities, to reading Facebook status updates is never ending.  Some class material may come naturally to you and you do not have to study it, while other material may be more challenging and you need to focus your mind on it.

Here is the deal, if you need to take a few hours to focus your mind on some material, then you need a good place to do it in.  For me, that place was in a quiet corner of the student library.  If the weather was good, I would set out for something outside on the student oval.  But perhaps the library is not your thing.  Perhaps your thing is the student computer lab or commons area.  We are all designed differently, so whatever the case may be, you have to find the place that works for you.  However do not just stop there.  Take your study spot one step further and if you can, turn off your cell phone or IPad.  You see, my point is this, you want to limit your distractions as much as possible to maximize your time and focus in your study area.  The whole point of a study area is to get away from everything.  If you bring the distractions with you, then you basically are setting yourself up to fail.        

Make Connections with your Classmates

Greet your classmates

Making connections with your classmates is absolutely the most crucial piece of advice that I can offer you in the success of your semester and college career.  Besides the whole social aspect to it, it will also serve you well with your classwork.  However you may be saying to yourself right now, “I do not make connections with people very easily, I am a bit of a loner”.  Even if you are loner, you still need to make connections with your classmates and that is because a lot of professors like to assign group work. 

 Group projects and presentations are extremely common for professors to utilize in their classrooms.  If a teach does assign a group project, would it not be more comfortable asking someone you know to work with then a complete stranger?  Not only that, but perhaps the person sitting next to you is extremely gifted with the material that you are learning and you are having a hard time understanding it.  If you have a connection with them, it would be so easy for you to ask them to help you review the material.  Ask them to be a study buddy or even a tutor.  Perhaps you are great at a subject that they are struggling with, you can trade off study tips. 

 Is it easy to put yourself out there and meet people?  For some people yes and some people no.  Personally, I am one of those people who just do not care and will talk with anyone.  If someone sat down on the chair next to me, I had no problems saying good morning and introducing myself.  “Good morning, I am so and so.  So what brings you to this class”?  I kept it simple and easy for the person to respond and chat with me.  I was not looking to make a new best friend or become the next mayor of campus, but when I did walk around the school and I saw people that I connected with, it was really easy for me to say hi and catch up with them.    

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