January 17, 2017

Top 7 resolutions for a successful semester

Welcome to spring semester 2017 at Johnson County Community College! The current term might be your first semester here, your last, or somewhere in between, but a new semester is always a great opportunity to practice some good habits. 

Follow these tips for a successful semester, and you'll start off 2017 with some resolutions that really work. 

1. Find one other student in class to depend upon.

In the first week, you usually learn how to reach the instructor via phone or email, but the fastest way to irk a prof is to ask, "So I was out last class period: did I miss anything?" Few professors can escape saying sarcastically, "No, we just talked about how much we missed you and purposely did nothing until you could join us again." So remember, inform your professor when you will be unable to attend class (see also #4 above), but look to a classmate to help you get caught up before the next class period. Exchange stumail account info so you can email your questions, and be sure to check your own stumail account regularly so you can return the favor. 

2. Eat on campus.

Want to know how to make the most of Dining Services? Check out this handy guide. In addition to enjoying some quality food options, you'll also save time versus running off campus, and you won't have to worry about recapturing a parking spot. 

3. Visit (and revisit) a resource center.

Did you know that you can receive free assistance in math, science, foreign language, writing and general academic preparedness just by visiting a resource center? Find a list of centers online. Some professors offer extra credit for these visits, but even if yours doesn't, it's worth knowing where to go for help. 

4. Go to class.

This may seem obvious, but professors remind you in your syllabus anyway: there's really no substitute for class attendance. Think this one doesn't apply to you because you're taking online courses? "Going" to class is still necessary, even if it's just setting aside scheduled time each week. "When I get to it" rarely works as well as "when I've planned for it." 

5. Join a club or organization.

One of the best ways to have that “real” college experience is to join an activity on campus. Find one related to your career goals, hobbies or philosophies. If you’re nervous about going, ask the activity advisor if you can “sit in” on a meeting before signing up for membership. Most are delighted to let you do so. A list of clubs – with advisor contacts – is online.

6. Create study groups, dive into class message boards and discover other ways to learn collaboratively.

Learning may seem like a solitary activity, but humans are social creatures who can help each other master material. Check out the new Collaboration Center on the first floor of OCB if your group needs a creativity-sparking space. 

7. Keep focused on your ultimate goal.

If you intend on completing a certificate, getting your associate degree or transferring to a four-year school, remember why you set that goal. Then when things get tough, you'll be reminded as to how this crucial step leads to that finish line. 

For every rule there's an exception, and not all of these tips will work with every instructor or for every student. But in general, these resolutions could lead to a promising spring 2017!