Today marks the first day of a new semester! That means students across campus are pulling out their TAMU maps looking for classes, picking the best seats in class, and praying their professors are nice.
I personally enjoy the start of a new semester. It gives me the chance to set new goals for myself and establish a new effective studying method – because last semester’s may not have been good enough. I like to tell myself, “There’s always room for improvement.”
Whether you’re graduating in May or just transferring in…I’m going to tell you some of my favorite ins and outs of starting a new semester at Texas A&M.
First and foremost – studying. Some like to cram right before an exam and some like to spread it out over a few days. No matter your habit, studying is crucial to a successful semester. Wouldn’t you rather celebrate getting an A than having to sulk about your C? Here are a few tips to help you get that almighty 4.0.
· Smart Phone Apps – Not using a phone during class is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I’m not saying texting during a lecture is productive but there are a few useful apps to help you succeed!
o Free Dictionary – sometimes you just have to look up a word. Don’t be ashamed.
o Flash+ Flashcards & Tests – If you study by repetition, then this is the app for you. It allows you to create your own flashcards and quizzes. It makes it much easier to keep track of the things you want to study.
o iStudiez – This is your semester calendar. Personally, I used this app everyday last semester. It keeps track of what you have to do every single day and all you have to do is enter in your schedule at the beginning of the year. It notifies you when you have an assignment coming up and when class is about to start. Extremely handy if you accidentally went home to take a nap…
o Quiet Hours – This app can be installed on your computer to help block all those educational, I mean distracting, websites like Facebook and Twitter. You set a time limit and it won’t let those forms of media notify you until the time expires.
o Evernote or Voice Notes – These apps are perfect for note taking in class. If your professor allows it, you can record their lectures and sometimes the app can translate it to written words. This is an easy way to organize and take notes for numerous classes.
· Library – I find it much easier to focus and get work done when I’m in an environment made for those things. With the endless amount of coffee and computers available, I thrive here. Some may do better at home and that’s fine, but here are my favorite study spots on campus.
o Random open classroom – During the after-hours of campus, these classrooms turn into a study sanctuary. Extremely quiet and open with no one to bother you. All you have to do is try a few door handles and voila!
o Med-Sci Library – This library is directly across from West Campus Library and is most of the time pretty empty. There are just enough people to not feel alone but not enough to be distracted.
o West Campus Library Study Rooms – Study rooms are available in Evans as well, but there’s something about WCL that I love. The rooms have computers and a dry erase board that make a perfect canvas during study breaks. I enjoy study rooms because they have access to resources that some secluded places do not.
Right behind studying is social life. We are in college so we have to make the grades, but we’re also here to enjoy our last years before the real world. School work always comes first and sometimes that can be a hard concept to accept, but you’ll enjoy yourself much more if you don’t have that gloomy essay hanging over your head you put off till the final hour.
· Accountability - Tell your friends when you have things due so they remind you that you shouldn’t go out and should probably just finish your assignment. It always means a little more when your friends have your back.
· Write it Down – Write down your goals and guidelines for the next few months. These could include: “No going out until all of tomorrow’s assignments are complete,” “Go out only two times a week,” and “Start studying three days before exam.” Remind yourself daily of what your goal is and keep yourself focused.
· Enjoy yourself – If you have all your homework and studying complete, celebrate! Even if it’s just celebrating the fact that you completed your work. Having fun with friends can lower your stress level and keep you refreshed. You won’t be able to fully enjoy yourself if you’re distracted or worried about other school work, so just be responsible.
I hope that these few tips can help you have a successful semester at Texas A&M! Feel free to comment or let me know what helps you do well during school. I would love to hear from you! Happy Spring semester, everyone!