February 6, 2024

You have survived a few rounds of questions around the Thanksgiving dinner table about how your semester is shaping up thus far. Now classes are back in session and you are a few weeks from wrapping up the semester. As you prepare for the end of the semester, you may encounter several culminating tasks to conclude the semester and test your knowledge of the course content. You may see a variety of options, such as a paper, a group project, a PowerPoint, a speech, or some other creative approach to determine your knowledge obtained in the course.
Now is a good time to assess your skill level in the varying areas. You should be able to review your syllabus for more information regarding what the final assignment will be. Over the last semester, you should be able to determine which areas you may need additional support or direction. Examine your experiences, look at grades on assignments, review notes from professors. These are all resources to help you identify your areas of need. Now that you have identified possible areas of improvement, there are resources on campus that can assist you. Below are a few resources that are available to you.

Writing Center: The Writing Center is available to review samples of your writing and provide feedback on how to take your work to the next level, things to consider, and areas of improvement.

Office Hours: Office hours are a great way for you to connect with the professor or teaching assistant about the information and expectations for the assignment. Asking the professor for assistance could help clarify things and shows you took some initiative.

Academic Success Center: The Academic Success Center is a very helpful resource, because they can assist with helping you to organize your thoughts, help you to understand the assignment, pair you with a tutor, or even look at public speaking and offer tips on the roles of successful team. You can

Testing Center: The testing center is another space that may be available on your campus. The center provides a quiet place to test, offers information on how to prepare for an exam, and provides tips for success.

Academic Advisor: Your advisor is another person you can discuss any concerns you may have and is definitely a good starting point. Your advisor can point in the direction of the appropriate university resource. Your advisor is a good person to discuss any struggles you have encountered and how to overcome those challenges.

Each university is unique in the resources that may or may not be readily available to you. Take time to assess how you have been performing and areas that could use some support. Your campus is full of support and now is the time to explore what options are available and how you can combat it.

Good luck as you prepare for the end of the semester.

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February 4, 2024

The beauty of the first few weeks of the semester, is the ability to drop the class without a penalty. Before the semester begins, you will want to research the Registrars list of important dates. You will need to know the last day to add a class and the last day to drop a class.

Adding a class will be tricky, because it will be impacted by class occupancy, may require the professor’s signature, or clearance from the Dean. Even if a class is full at the beginning of the semester, you may have the opportunity to add the class in the event registered students already in the class decide to drop. Remember to be patient and allow the system to work. If you cannot get into the class this semester, try again next semester or next year.

Dropping a class will require you to monitor the calendar. There are two dates that you will need to observe. One will allow you to drop the class without the class showing on your transcript, while the other date will allow you to drop the class, but it will be reflected on your transcript negatively affecting your GPA.

Having the ability to pick your class can allow you the opportunity to “shop” your classes and professors. If a class is not a good fit for you, the ability to drop can alleviate some stress. Class shopping also allows you the opportunity to evaluate your course load and to step back if you determine you have too much on your plate. Keep in mind that the professor may not change with future offerings of the course. Additionally, the course may have a limited offering of once a year. Be mindful of the potential of a repeat experience if you elect to drop the class and attempt to retake it.

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February 2, 2024

The Spring semester has officially started. You have had a couple of weeks to settle in and now is good time to do a pulse check. Examine how the first few weeks have unfolded; have you started strong, pick up where you left off in the Fall, or do you feel overwhelmed? Whatever you are feeling, it is okay and checking in now can help steer your semester to success.

Have you had a test, written a paper, completed a group assignment? How did it go? Take this pulse check to determine if you need to study harder (or differently), get a tutor, or revise the focus of the group project.

At the beginning of each semester, we have discussed in earlier blogs, that you should write down short- and long-term goals for the semester. Use notebook or a journal to detail things that went well, areas for improvement, accomplishments and defeats for the past semester. Use these to jumpstart your goals for this semester.

This semester, take your goal setting to the next level, find ways to keep yourself accountable. Find out what motivates you and will help push you to achieve your goals. It may also be beneficial to find an Accountability Partner. An Accountability Partner will help you stay on track with your goals and remind you should you lose focus. Consider rewarding yourself for your efforts; perhaps a trip, a new gadget, or a concert. For some students the intrinsic reward is enough.

Every goal requires an action plan. Take time to plan out your goals and how you plan to achieve the goal. You will need to break down into smaller goals, so the bigger goal is more manageable. For example, your long-term goal may be to get an “A” in class, but that can seem like a daunting task. However, setting smaller goals of reading 2 chapters a week, writing one page each day a week before a paper is due, or reviewing notes each week.

Remember a goal without a plan is just an idea. Take this time to assess your progress thus far, don’t get too far into the semester before making adjustments. Find someone to be your accountability partner. Explore ways to reward yourself and to help you stay the course.

list clip art           With the close of the school year, it’s time to start thinking about your plans for next year. What classes would you like to take or are there any clubs you’re interested in joining? Thinking about these kinds of things ahead of time gives you plenty of time to make a decision instead of feeling like you are under pressure to make all your decisions right away. Sit down this summer and make a bucket list for next year!

In regards to class schedules, try to schedule classes as early as possible. Popular classes get chosen very quickly and you’ll want to make sure you get a spot. If you have certain classes you’re required to take by a specific semester try to take them as early possible. Class deadlines are the same as any regular deadlines-the earlier you meet the requirements the easier you will breathe.

Planning your activities out in conjunction with your class schedules can give you a better idea of how much free time you’ll have after all you want to do. Trying to overstretch yourself can end in you being exhausted and overwhelmed as opposed to feeling engaged in everything you want to do. Keep your schedule as full as you want it, but make sure to pencil in time for yourself as well. Take that rock climbing course you’ve always wanted to, check out that indie theater you keep saying you’ll attend, or go hang out in that coffee shop. Doing something for yourself can help make you feel at peace with the rest of the schedule that you can’t always control.

Whether you make your bucket list on a computer, write it down in a book, or just keep it in your head, having an idea of what you want to do can make your life much less stressful. Planning ahead can help you decide what is or isn’t the most important use of your time. A more thought out plan for the next year can give you more free time and leave you feeling in control. The idea of a bucket list for college might seem silly, but trust me. Checking off your wish list will give you a feeling of accomplishment unsurpassed by anything else.

February is a great time to review your current load.  You have been to class, taken a look the syllabus, and possibly completed an assignment or had a quiz.  Now is time to reflect on your progress in your currently enrolled classes.  If you think that the material may be too much for you to absorb, if you think you have taken on too much, or if you think the class load will hinder your academic success, now is the time to consider dropping a class. The best scenario is to drop the class without it having a negative effect on your transcript. You want to make decisions that will not affect your chance to graduate on time or to graduate with a higher grade point average.

Dropping a class is all about timing.  The registrar’s office will have specific dates that you must adhere to in order to successfully drop a class.  Sometimes the steps are quite easy and will simply allow you to just drop the class.  In other classes you may have to obtain a signature from the professor, an advisor, or even the dean.  The second factor to consider is how “the drop” will appear on your transcript.  Your preference is for “the drop” not to appear on your transcript at all; this of course is the best case scenario and will be the earliest deadline.  The later the deadline is in the semester, the more detrimental it will be toward your grade point average.

Dropping a class is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is a mature decision that almost all students have to face at one point in their academic career.  Dropping a class should also not be a way to avoid hard work.  As you progress through your academic program your courses are designed to become more challenging and pushing your complex thinking to the next level.  Shying away from hard work or a more challenging professor will not prepare you for your professional field or life after college.  Consider the course is only 12-16 weeks and in the end you will benefit the most from it.  So before dropping a class consider your true intentions behind dropping the class.  Meet with your advisor and discuss the class and the ramifications of dropping the class. Consider getting a tutor for the class or seeing if the professor offers one-on-one sessions or has any other resources to help you be successful.  If you find that the class is just too much for your current load, you can also consider retaking the class next year or find a suitable replacement.

Dropping classes is a great option to have as a student, but before dropping classes ensure that is the best solution in the long run.  Making a quick decision should not have long lasting effects on your academic career.  Consult your advisor, exhaust all of your possibilities, and make the best decision.

Most semesters have started already, but there are still things you can do to prepare for the first weeks of class.

1. INVEST IN A PLANNER/CALENDAR–Write down ALL of the due dates (in pencil-so it is easier to change). You then have the opportunity to plan your own mini-deadlines for big projects.

2. WRITE DOWN IMPORTANT INFORMATION- While it sounds vague, write down where the class is, what times/days, who the professor is, and the course title on the folder/notebook you’ll use. Then you don’t have to worry about forgetting where your class is. Plus, if you leave your book somewhere, a person could drop it off in the classroom.

3. HAVE FUN- Try to enjoy all of your courses, even the ones that are difficult. Use a different color pen or some other way to entertain yourself throughout the semester.

 

Here is a video to make you smile.

IT’S THE END OF THE SEMESTER ALREADY?! I STILL HAVE SO MUCH WORK TO DO!

We’ve all been there. No matter how hard we try to be productive, our best friend–procrastination always comes knocking at our door asking to play. How do we manage?

Check out this awesome link with 12 tips on aceing our finals. Keep these in mind for midterms in the Spring semester.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/study-tips-for-exams-12-ways-to-ace-your-finals_n_789731.html#s193495&title=Study_In_Chunks

Good Luck!

Registration for the Spring semester may have already passed by, or could be approaching quickly. If you ask any upperclassman you know, or even us here on the iRA team, we could tell you numerous stories about registration scares and successes. I always seemed to get the classes I needed with no trouble. However, that is not always the case. So here are a few things to keep in mind when you pick your classes for the spring.

-Create several different versions of your schedule with backup sections of your classes or different courses (if only one section is offered). This helps cut down the stress when you go to register at your assigned time.

-Have a balance between required courses for your degree and general education requirements. It may be wise to see if any gen.ed requirements would double count towards your degree. It will save you time and money in the long run. You may even be able to add a minor if you wanted to.

-Don’t forget to include some “ME” time. Understand that you may not be able to have your “perfect” schedule right away, since most registration times are done by credits earned. Whether or not you have your perfect schedule, always remember to take time for yourself–to go to the gym or read a book, or study.

If you have any concerns about registration, don’t hesitate to contact the iRA team. We’re happy to answer your questions. =) Good luck with registration!