Student Success Stories: Megan M.
Megan M.'s Academic Success Story
Freshman year of college was such an exciting moment in my life! I was finally moving out of my parents house and calling the shots for the first time in 18 years. I was excited about meeting new people, getting involved on campus, parties, and, oh yeah, classes. I thought, classes are going to be a breeze; I only have five for the whole semester and each meets every other day, this will be nothing like high school! Well, I was right about one thing, it was nothing like high school. Yes, classes met every other day, and only for 50 minutes at a time. However, I quickly learned that many professors believed you were only taking one course a semester, and it was their course. I realized if I wanted to have any chance of doing well at Stetson, I needed a plan. And fast.
My overall study method is review, review, review. I have a difficult time retaining information when I study for long periods of time, so I try to break up my sessions into an hour of studying and 15 minutes of break. I try to avoid the internet when I am taking a break because I find it is very difficult to get back to studying after surfing the net (same holds true for working in the "real world"). Instead I would talk with a friend, walk around outside, or just get up and stretch. I always believed that studying began with attending class and participating...
- Take notes in class
-- Create a consistent pattern across all classes (for use of colors, symbols, bullet points, disgrams, etc.)
- Participate in class discussions
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK! (I know last thing you want to hear)
-- Read the textbook, take notes, underline, highlight -- anything to get yourself engaged in the reading.
- Re-read the textbook
- Re-read your notes from class
- Re-write your notes from class - multiple times for the greatest impact
- Begin studying for a test at least 3 nights in advance
-- You don't actually learn when you cram the night before which means come finals time you'll have to work twice as hard since you didn't learn it the first time.
Here's how I handle time management and study skills:
-- Get a Daily/Weekly planner and write your assignments down ASAP.
-- Be descriptive! Include the class, the assignment expectations, the due date, and any other pertinent information.
-- Determine which assignments are due first and begin with those.
-- Don't panic when there are multiple projects due at the same time. Create goals and benchmarks to ensure completion of assignments on time, and to your full potential.
-- Procrastination is your "frien-emy"; its all fun and games until you miss your deadline. (Is that Frat party really worth having to take statistics again next semester?)
-- Stick with your list, but be flexible if needed.
-- Ask for help! Use campus resources! Most campuses have study labs and tutors available in most subjects. Take advantage of these, especially if you are struggling. Classmates are also a great resource (no cheating!)
-- Complete every assignment to the best of your ability -- never sell yourself short. You should never have your name on something if you aren't proud of it.
How I succeed in team projects: The key to succeeding in a team project is to be a team player. No one likes working with a slacker, so don't be a slacker! But don't get taken advantage of either. There were many times when I had taken the lead on a project because nothing was getting done, and unfortunately I think I earned the reputation of "the girl who will do the whole project." Most people will try harder when they feel as though they are valued. Try to get group members involved -- assign them tasks and make them feel as though they are contributing. Taking the role of a leader will not only give you experience you can use outside of school, it will also help you make an impression with your professor.
Also, do not wait until the last minute to begin working on projects. I found that my most successful team projects involved checkpoints and goals. Knowing what is to be done, and when it needs to be done is a great way to stay focused and on time. Try to have a group project complete 3-4 days before it is due to leave some time for last minute ideas and editing.
Here are my final words of wisdom for students who want to get better grades in college: College will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Be sure to get the best of both worlds and find the healthy balance between the studying and the partying.
Finally, the best piece of advice I could ever give, and have ever received, comes from my statistics teacher:
"Take everything one... step... at... a... time."
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