Heading in the right direction
Last week, Grand Valley State University kicked off the year with Convocation. Many people around campus spoke to give new and returning students advice on having a successful academic year, including President Thomas Haas, Provost Gayle Davis, University Academic Senate Chair Karen Gipson, Student Senate President Andrew Plague and several others.
They gave words words of advice such as ‘embrace change,’ ‘think big’ and ‘pursue what you love.’ Along with those, we wanted to give some advice of our own. Many students start the semester full of motivation to stay ahead in their homework, never miss a class and always look at least a week ahead. However, for some of these students, that motivation goes downhill quickly as the exhilaration of the initial plunge fades. We want to give these students some words of wisdom – student to student.
For new students, going to your first few days of classes and looking at the syllabi can be daunting, especially seeing all the assignments and projects that you’ll eventually have to accomplish. But the time goes by quickly and all this work is manageable.
First, we recommend getting a planner and actually using it for more than a week. There are usually even some clubs that give them out for free. Writing down what you need to do for the rest of the semester helps you to keep track of what is due and when. Plus having that information located all in one place is a huge time-saver and makes it less likely for you to forget about something you need to do.
For returning students, though it sounds like a paradox, sometimes being busier can be better for overall success in college than having nothing to do. When you’re busier, time management often becomes easier because you don’t have the luxury of having time to procrastinate. When you have spare time, you may have something you need to do but it’s easy to say you’ll just do it later.
Getting involved with on campus clubs can not only help you fill your schedule and meet new people, but it also looks really good on resumes – especially professional organizations or ones that pertain to your major. These kinds of organizations can open up great opportunities for networking and finding a job.
Though it’s hard to stay motivated after the first few weeks of classes, it’s important to keep the end in mind. Some of your classes may not be the most interesting to you, but without them you couldn’t get to the classes that do interest you. All of the classes you take are bringing you one step closer to graduation and a future career in a field you love, so that makes every class important.
Finally, enjoy your time at GVSU! The mindset of just wanting to be done with school is an easy one to slip into, but don’t forget that college can be one of the best times of your life. Make the most of it.