The First Week of School – Start with Good Learning Habits

With the heat of summer upon us, it is hard to believe that school will soon be in session once again. The first week of school is critical for starting off the semester with good habits. Starting off on the wrong foot can start a downward spiral that can be difficult to overcome. Use the following tips to get the semester started off right.

Take Responsibility

At WDT there’s no one looking over your shoulder or holding your hand to make sure you get off on the right foot. It’s all up to you—and your feet. Our staff is here to help in any way we can, but you need to let us know what challenges you may be having.

Attend Class

In a class that meets 30 times in a semester, each lesson has about 3 percent of the content. If you miss the first week, you are already 8 percent behind. Every professor is on a different timeline, and it is important that you are on board.

Know Your Limits

Some classes, especially those concerning math and science, are taught at many different levels. Be sure you haven’t signed up for a class that’s either too hard or too easy for you, given your prior training and abilities. Placement tests and course numbers aren’t always right, so trust your own sense of the course. Make changes early if necessary and avoid a disaster later in the semester.

Use the Syllabus

The syllabus can give you the inside track on what counts and what doesn’t. In some courses, the syllabus contains important clues about what will be on the tests, within the course’s written goals and objectives. Be alert to these tip-offs about what the professor deems as important. Often, the syllabus will contain the value of each class activity toward your final grade. This will help you to focus your energy appropriately.

Take Note

Get into the habit early of writing everything down from the very first meeting of the class. Keeping your hands moving will help you actively engage with the lecture and form questions. If it is a hands on class, be sure to actively participate.

Plan Ahead

Get out your calendar (paper or electronic) and mark all the important dates: the dates and times of all your exams, your professors’ office hours, paper due dates, and WDT holidays and vacations. Be on the lookout for possible conflicts, which should be resolved right away.

Designate a Study Zone

It’s not too early to scope out a quiet place where you’ll do your studying. And when you get there, turn off the gadgets. It is easy to be distracted by devices by way of texting, Facebook, IM, Twitter, and many more. Allow yourself five minutes at the end of every hour if you can’t keep them off. But, after five minutes, be strict with yourself to power down again.

Most professors do assign homework for the first week of classes and actually expect you to do it, even if there’s not a test or quiz until the fourth week. First impressions do matter, and putting forth effort in the beginning will benefit not only your habits, but your final grade. So get off to a good start, and keep in mind that you are investing in your future.

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