The school year is rapidly approaching, and while you’re trying to cram in as much end-of-summer fun as you can, it’s also a good time to start mentally preparing for the coming year. Returning Bryant students know the routine, and know their way around campus, while new students are adjusting to a new place and possibly a new way of life different from high school. Regardless of your academic progress, there are a few things you can start in the fall semester that will help you throughout the year and for life!
- Ask questions. Even if you’re a senior at Bryant, there are still many things you do not know. Some of those things you did know have changed, and some are completely new. Your professors, Bryant staff and the Bryant librarians are there to answer your questions, but you have to ask first! The more you ask questions, the more you will learn; and the more you get into the habit of asking questions, the more questions you’ll think up.
- Start a routine you can stick with. It’s very easy to get caught up in the beginning-of-the-school-year fervor, but far too many students try to pick a routine that’s unsustainable, they break their routine, and then all organization flies out the window. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll be up, showered, and in the library every morning promptly at 7am because unless you naturally wake up at 5, it’s just not going to work. Build your study time around your class schedule, and find a place to camp out that’s not your dorm. If your study space is full of friends, TV and other distractions, you won’t get your work done.
- Do your research early. As tempting as it is to put off that paper until the night before, you’ll often find that if you do that, all the library books on your topic will have already been checked out by your classmates, and the research articles that you need have to be requested from another library and won’t get to you for a week. You can still write your paper the night before, but it will actually make sense to the reader if you’ve done your research and assembled the resources you need beforehand.
- Take time. Studies show that students are spending less and less time working on homework and studying, and their grades, college experience and performance after college can all suffer. College can be the best years of your life, but it’s also the time when students should be working their hardest and learning as much as possible to prepare for an increasingly tight job market. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work means Jack may not graduate, and that’s no fun at all. If you feel like your study skills are lacking, or if you’re struggling in a class, contact the Academic Center for Excellence and use the experts who are there to help you. Above all remember that you don’t know everything and no one expects you to know everything. You’re in college to learn, not because you already have all the answers.
- Take a break. Using your downtime to recharge your mental batteries is necessary to keep yourself academically engaged and successful. If you don’t have any pressing homework, give yourself a night off. Go to the movies, read a book for pleasure, or just catch up with friends. If you give yourself treats and rewards for a job well done, you’ll be more successful and less frenzied.
- Get some exercise. Regular exercise will help you sleep better, avoid the freshman fifteen and will give you time to think. People who run regularly often say that doing so gives them the uninterrupted time to muddle over what they’re working on, “Wolfgang Ketterle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a physics Nobelist in 2001, told Runner’s World magazine “I haven’t made any big discoveries on a run, but it does give me time to think through problems. Some solutions are obvious, but they are only obvious when you are relaxed enough to find them. Running is like decompressing and cleaning up your mind. Your body is busy and your mind is free.” Even if you hate running, find an exercise you enjoy and you’ll improve your mental clarity, attitude and increase productivity. Stop by the Chace Center and check out the class offerings, walk or run on the cross-country trails around campus. Even just taking the long way to class can wake you up and give you some time to think.