This coming Fall semester is unlike any other I have entered since my very first college semester. It marks the start of my final year of undergraduate courses, leading up towards graduation in May 2012. Possibly the most stressful time I will have experienced as a student at the University of North Texas, this year will surely entail a huge amount of preparation and decision-making regarding life after the month of May. However, despite an uncertain future on my mind, performing well in my last year of classes is just as much of a priority. I still must properly prepare for my classes in order to hit my cumulative GPA goal that I have yet to reach, and these final two semesters are my last opportunity to raise that number to my liking. Below are a few measures of preparation that I am taking to brace myself for this Fall 2011 semester. They are actions that I have learned over my three years at UNT and have proven to be EXTREMELY effective.
A planner or calendar: Possibly one of the most important things to utilize while taking a full semester of classes, a planner notebook or calendar is vital to time and course management. Forget jotting down important pieces of information on your hand, as you’ll forget things that are days away and look like a human Post-It.
Know the course syllabus: Take time to read through the syllabus of each class and know what is expected. Also, make notes in your planner or calendar of important dates. Many times, an instructor will not remind you of due dates or or other important dates that are listed on the syllabus. No excuse will compete with the response “It’s on the syllabus.” I’ve learned to value each course syllabus as it is great to know what is coming next.
Have all appropriate school materials: It’s just like 2nd grade when your parents were forced to spend one hundred dollars on school supplies that were predominantly unnecessary. Except, at this age, you decide what is necessary for your classes. I prefer to have a small notebook for each class and a document holder to place all course work and papers, but you can decide what materials are best for a successful semester.
Sets goals: Aim high with your grades, and continuously remind yourself throughout the semester of these goals. I typically aim for all A’s, but that has never become a reality. However, because I shot so high, I never made a course grade lower than a “B” since setting those goals.
Make an agenda for accomplishing those goals: I prefer to give myself a little agenda for the entire semester or set expectations for myself. This includes taking notes before the discussed material, establishing proper ways of lecture comprehension, or even forcing myself to take care of course work before the last minute.
Be positive: I think this is the most important thing to consider. It took me all of 20 years on this Earth to finally realize that education is an experience that should not be taken for granted. I can absolutely guarantee that if you view your undergraduate courses in a positive light and challenge yourself, you will graduate with higher levels of intellectuality, awareness, and wisdom that cannot be acquired much anywhere else.
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