I’m a big advocate for education. I have my Bachelors degree in history and art history and I’m currently working on my Master’s degree in library and information science. Here’s the thing, I enjoy learning. I don’t always enjoy school though.
Let’s be real, sometimes school is a royal pain. Sometimes I have to write papers I have no interest in writing. Sometimes I have to do assignments that I find dull. But I try to keep it all in perspective. The payoff at the end has and will be more than worth it for me.
If you’ve decided that you’re willing to claw your way through each semester for that same payoff, I have a few tips to help you enjoy the journey a bit more.
- Work with your classmates – This goes without saying when you have group work assigned. Embrace the group work (as annoying as it can be) and step up to the plate to be a great team member. It’s tempting to keep your head down and go it alone, but be friendly with your classmates. You never know when you’ll need a little extra help preparing for an exam. I find this to be true more than ever in an online environment. I make sure I feel comfortable reaching out to a few people in my class when I need guidance.
- Your professor is not the enemy – The first time I ever called a professor, I was super nervous, but I needed to know if I was on the right track with my theories. It turned out that this professor was not ‘scary’ and I found out later that she was telling my classmates that “I was the girl to study with.” Professors want you to bounce ideas off of them and when you do, you get noticed in the very best of ways.
- Stay organized right from the start – find a system that works for you and stick to it. Personally, I calendar all my big assignments out for the entire semester on day 1 of the class. Then, at the start of each week I make a task list (to read, to write, to watch) that includes all the little things I need to complete that week- articles to read, lectures to watch, discussion posts to write. I have a set study schedule that happens on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. I split up my task list between these study days. If I work ahead, that’s great. But at least I know what absolutely has to get done each day.
- Save, save, save – For my graduate degree I’m required to complete an e-portfolio highlighting my knowledge of the core competencies of my degree. I have to be able to access and share everything I do over the course of my degree for this e-portfolio. I use Dropbox to save everything to the cloud several times per month. More than once I’ve had to go back and pull something back as evidence when I didn’t receive a grade that I was supposed to.
- Celebrate the small wins– Even when you’re studying something you’re passionate about school can sometimes feel like a total drag. Make time to celebrate those tiny steps you’re making towards graduation. Go out with friends at the end of each semester or get yourself a small treat when you manage to turn in an assignment you never thought you’d finish.
Are you a student right now? How do you stay on top of everything each semester?
Photo credit: John-Mark Kuznietsov