Welcome! Or welcome back? How about both? It is the start of the spring 2018 semester, and either you’re eager for syllabus week to be over or eager for the semester to end. If you’re one of those students who is counting down the days until spring break, then hold your horses; we’ve got a long way to go. Whether you’re a freshman, a transfer, a senior or a readmission applicant, there are methods and ways to get a fresh start this semester.

No matter what your status is in Plattsburgh State, the key to starting off the semester well is having the right mindset. Positivity, optimism and determination are superficial traits that enhance one’s mindset. Walking into classes for the first time should automatically make you elated because it’s a fresh start. There is a possibility of having a new teacher, new teaching methods and different grading systems. Walking into those classes will give you more chances to earn A’s.

A positive mindset affects your outlook on the class before anything is explained. A positive mindset equals a positive outlook. Determination is also a great trait to utilize when it comes to a new semester. Being determined to pass all your classes with a grade goal that you set for yourself pushes you to be at the top of your game.

Something that many of us can confess to is comparing ourselves to others. We get a quiz back and the person sitting next to us received a much higher grade than we did. We start wondering what we did wrong or what we could have done to better our grade. We start imagining how the person next to us studies and what their studying habits are. Stop doing this. Compare your quiz results to the last quiz you took; maybe you got a higher score than last time. That’s progress and something to be happy about. The person who sits next to you may have had more classes in the subject than you or might be retaking the class. You never know someone else’s experiences, only yours, so compare yourself to you.

Preparedness. Being unprepared whether it comes to textbooks, school supplies or even tuition money can make anyone feel like they’re here on an expired visa. You don’t feel comfortable because everyone but you has read the material required for the next class, has multiple assorted pens and notebooks or has their tuition paid off for the entire semester. Don’t get discouraged.

Order your textbooks early over breaks. If money is tight, you could borrow a textbook through PSUC’s Feinberg Interlibrary Loan, ILL for short. Search up the specific textbook you need and place an order through the library. Hopefully, the school is able to find the book and lend it to you. Look at tuition costs early. Figure out what you can do to settle the debt. Payment plans are always a good way to start.

Freshmen. This experience is going to be completely different from your high-school experience. Freedom will be a word that most of you will use regularly. Just because you are away from your parents or guardians does not mean you have to take full advantage of your freedom here. Take your time, and ease into it. You don’t have to stay out late everyday or go to every single party you hear about. If you do, make sure all or at least most of assignments and readings are done so you can actually enjoy yourself and not have a little voice in your head haunting you because you know you should really be studying.

Eighty to 95 percent of college students procrastinate when it comes to doing their coursework, according to a 2007 meta-analysis by University of Calgary psychologist Piers Steel, PhD. Procrastination can get the best of us all the time. In my experience, it is easier to retain information or skills when you practice them soon after you have learned them. Waiting more than a day to complete math or a Spanish assignment will have you flipping back through the textbook to refresh yourself on the material. Starting immediately eliminates that.

These tips and methods have lead me to a rewarding semester. Positivity is a valuable trait one can possess. You feel good within yourself, and it guides you to see the good in everything. From my experience, setting goals and not procrastinating essentially leads to more success. Take these tips from T, and watch your life flourish.

Email Tamiyha Carter at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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