by Michael Bell.
If you used the winter break to relax, release, and renew, chances are your study skills need to thaw a little so you can regain your academic flow.
Getting back in the groove isn’t easy, but you should be up and running at optimum capacity in no time with these tips.
Learn from last semester: Looking back, how did you do then? How can you do better now? Celebrate everything you did well, and acknowledge everything you could improve. Use the greatest challenges you faced and the many lessons you learned as the benchmark for excelling this time around.
Take advantage of professors’ office hours: Don’t be too intimidated or shy to visit your professors’ during office hours. This time is specifically reserved for students. If you are falling behind in class, need to ask a question, or simply want to speak with your professor, make sure to take advantage of this time.
Prioritize your goals: “Order them from largest to smallest, set a timetable, and analyze when you think you will be able to achieve them,” advises Genoveva Garcia, counselor at the Counseling Center here at Lehman.
Orient and organize: New professors, new demands. Order makes adapting easier. Take the time to structure everything school related cohesively. Look at the due dates for major assignments, and plan a timetable to get it done as you go along.
Study time and class time: “Two hours of studying are recommended for every one hour of class. Adjust based on your schedule,” Garcia said, “Make sure it’s doable, and not too overwhelming.”
Write while you listen: Take notes like your grades depend on them, because they do. This will be your study material in the future, so record everything that catches your interest or sounds important.
Know yourself: Garcia recommends a great tool. She asks “What’s your learning style? It’s important to know this so you can take notes and study material in the way that best suits you.” She recommends taking the LASSI – Learning and Study Strategies Inventory – assessment test, available in the Counseling Center.
Do daily checkups: Look at Blackboard and your Lehman email on a daily basis to ensure you are always up to date with the latest info on your classes and your assignments.
Find your own study pace: “Don’t try to force yourself to understand everything in a day,” Garcia said. “Find your own pace, and have some breaks. Time yourself, know your toleration level, and try to study a little longer next time. It’s like exercising. Keep trying to keep improving.”
Practice Discipline: Work is hard, and distractions are plentiful, so catch yourself whenever the siren song of Facebook or your phone begins to tempt you away. Turn off or put away whatever could be distracting, and keep yourself focused.
Don’t get discouraged: Garcia emphasizes to not give up because “it’s a working process. Just because you can’t sit for five hours straight the first few times doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It takes time to train your mind, find your flow and strengthen your concentration. Keep at it.”
Use the Counseling Center: The study skills and stress reduction workshops are there to help you from start to finish. Time management, mindfulness, goal setting, emotional balance, exam success and prioritizing methods are a few of the many topics covered. So stop by the Old Gym Building, Room 114, to start getting back in the groove.
Start strong, work hard, refuel your spirit when needed, and never stop striving to make this a great semester. Remember, excellence is a practice, not a result, so practice these tips daily, and you’ll be well on your way to graduation and a great GPA.
“If you need help, don’t keep it to yourself,” Garcia said. “Reach out, because we want you to succeed. The resources are here, we are here, and the people in the Counseling Center will always be willing to help you in any way they can.”