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Dr. Nicholson

The new semester and the new year is a great time to get some good habits started.  We asked counselors and faculty members to share their best advice for getting off to a start.

Dr. Ben Nicholson suggests getting to campus early. “The first days of classes are chaotic so try not to add to it. Parking can be a challenge, finding the room can be a challenge so plan to be there early.”

Being early might also give you a few extra minutes to make a connection and exchange connect information just before the class starts. Nicholson says knowing your classmates can be a big help if you are working on homework or a project or if you are out sick for a day.

Speaking of homework, Counselor Dana Baker says don’t wait to ask for help. “Come see us. We are here to help. We also have reading/writing centers, tutors and counselors. Students who have a person they can rely on or who can keep them on track get better grades and persist to graduation.” Baker jokes it might also keep you sane.

Dr. Nader Chaaban, professor of communication and collegewide communication studies coordinator, asks students in his class to fill out a weekly schedule. He tells students to block out times they are busy with work or classes and then use what’s left to plan time to study, exercise, or relax.

Baker agrees that time management is essential for a successful semester. “You need to micromanage. Everyone needs a balance between work, school and life,” she says.

Along with managing time, students need to manage goals and expectations. Dr. Nicholson says as the class gets under way, make sure you understand what the professor expects. “The first week of the semester is a forgiving time if you realize that you have made a mistake in choosing classes.”

Dr. Chaaban asks his students to make a list of their goals for the class.  Every few weeks, he has the students review the goals to make sure they are still on track.

Smart Tips
*Arrive on campus early
*Make connections
*Make a schedule & stick to it
*Set goals
*Know what your professor expects
*Explore the campus

Finally, Nicholson says the start of the semester is a great time to explore. Read bulletin boards, introduce yourself to people, walk around a little bit.

“Do you know what’s available in the library? You might be surprised that it’s a lot more than books. Know where there are quiet spots on campus where you could sit and do work. And know where you could go if you wanted to blow off steam between classes,” he advices.

Baker says using these tips to “smart start” will be the key to a successful finish.

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