Get on Track for the New Semester I: Intro

Happy New Year! And…welcome back to school…

The great thing about this time of year is that you have one semester behind you. You have broken-in the college life and have a better sense of what it takes to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

At this point, last semester went one of two ways: either things went well, or they did not.

If things went well, congratulations! You have a good grasp on what it takes to be a successful college student and can continue the practices that helped get you there.

If things did not go well, congratulations! You now have an opportunity to reassess your habits, take stock of some lessons you learned, form a brand new plan, and come back stronger and ready to rock. This post is for you.

It really stinks when you disappoint yourself, or think you have a handle on things and realize…nope, you really do not. Disappointment can mean different things: maybe you didn’t get the grades you wanted (A’s, B’s), maybe you failed a class or two, maybe you did really poorly in classes required for your major. Its okay, these things happens. The first semester of college requires adjustments: to class pace, to a new living situation, to new freedoms, to balancing social distractions with schoolwork, etc. And your grades reflect how you adjusted (or did not) to this new life.

While it may seem like this disappointment, lack of adjustment, etc. is a bad thing; it actually could be the best thing that happened to you. After all, we learn more when things do not work out than when they do. And you can apply these lessons to your new semester.

This month is devoted to posts about starting this semester better. While this series focuses on the second semester of your first year of college, the strategies I will map over the next few posts are applicable to the start of every new semester, since assessment and reassessment are tools you will need to use in order to get ahead and/or remain on track at any time.

In addition to reading these posts and actively following the plan they lay out, make an appointment with your undergrad advisor to have a serious talk about what strategy to use during the upcoming semester. You are not in this alone, so do not be afraid to ask for help.

Here are the topics for the upcoming series of posts:

  1. Get real with yourself,
  2. Use tools aimed to keep you on track,
  3. Plan a study strategy designed to focus on incremental improvement over the course of the semester,
  4. Stick to your plan!!

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