If you're a student right now, you've likely been through a slew of orientation events, welcome to campus rituals, and speaker after speaker aimed at ensuring your success.
Your inbox is overflowing with reminders and there are at least 10 events in the upcoming week that have been recommended to you as absolutely essential. Meanwhile, you're just hoping to make it through the semester intact and potentially still figuring out the details on your schedule, course load, and book purchases.
How do you plan to get the most out of your semester?
Here are 5 tips to make sure feel prepared to rock your GPA, connect to your campus, and build your arsenal of support.
1. Identify your Support System a.k.a your Board of Advisors
This is about being proactive.
Maybe you're not the type who's ever needed support (or perhaps this is just the view you hold of yourself). In any case getting familiar with the services available on your campus BEFORE you need them can make all the difference in your mid-semester world, when you find out you actually might need support.
Connect with at least one person in that office or department. Get familiar with your advisor, class dean, and or counseling services rep. These folks are already invested in your success. Even if you don't use them, just knowing who and what's available can help immensely later on.
2. Find Your Community
I am a firm believer in the power of community. This is a group of friends, a student organization, or religious affiliation, in alignment with your values or goals. This should be a community that affirms you and allows you to affirm them; and a place where you can find compassion and consideration. When looking for community look for places where you can give a much as you receive.
3. Find your outlet
At least 2-3 times a month you can find me dancing and sweating my heart out. It's both my therapy and my expression. I also go to the gym about 3-5x a week (this has literally saved me from social media battles with near strangers). Whatever it is, art, exercise, service, volunteering, etc, make a plan now, on how and when you will incorporate at least one thing into your schedule to help you de-stress.
4. Affirm Your Sense of Purpose
At times this will feel really hard. As a first-gen student, I questioned my journey ALOT. I wondered if I would make it through and if the sacrifices I was making in the end would be worth it. Some days I felt on top of the world and many days I STRUGGLED.
Stay connected to yourself. Remind yourself why you started this journey and above all else, remind yourself of your values and your highest purpose. Write it down. Make it visible. It will be the light in dark places.
5. Envision and Articulate your Perfect Semester.
Write this down!
Take a sheet of paper and write out your version of a perfect semester. Make it a free-write. Describe everything in detail. Your perfect classes. Your perfect experiences. Complete sentences like: "This semester is perfect because...".
This is not a lesson in disappointment or a guarantee that things will go perfect. Even your sense of perfection will shift as the year progresses forward. The point is to build clarity around your objectives and connect with what's important for you in cultivating your experience.
Bonus: Develop an Execution Strategy
I'll go deeper into detail in my next post about this, but essentially, you will need to develop a strategy to anchor your aspirations into action. Figure out how you will build accountability into each of your goals. This can be study groups, tutoring appointments, or weekly check-ins with a mentor or advisor. Pay attention to when you tend to stumble on your goals and use that feedback to seek out appropriate support.
So how do you plan to get the most out of your semester?
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