Professors, student share tips for success
September 10, 2018
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Between juggling new classes, organizations and jobs, starting a new semester can be exciting and stressful all at once.
Some students overload themselves at the very beginning of the semester, causing them to struggle with finding a balance for the duration of the year. In order to have a solid first semester, it is
important to get to know your professors and form balanced study habits to avoid falling behind. Luckily, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professors have advice for students.
Professor Deborah Fratz said the beginning of the semester is often not as busy as the end, towards finals or even Thanksgiving break. Therefore, if possible, students should try to get on top of things before the workload picks up.
“At the beginning of the semester, there is a lot of freedom,” Fratz said. “That would be the time to do a lot of the physical outside tasks. It’s true for me too, and I even try to create my syllabus so there are points in the semester where things kind of ease off.”
Fratz also included the importance of a study group and utilizing office hours.
“A study group might not seem like a good use of time, but it very often is,” Fratz said. “If you study with other smart people they can help you understand the text or project or assignment a lot faster.”
She also added it’s important to seek professors’ advice outside of class time.
“Don’t be afraid of your professors,” Fratz said. “We really are invested in your success, and if you need clarification particularly in an assignment go to those office hours. Most of the time, we sit here by ourselves lonely…and office hours are made for students.”
Professor Heather Conte also stressed the importance of reaching out to professors in a timely fashion, especially through email.
“One key to success is for students to appropriately email professors,” Conte said. “If we get an email that is nicely written and correctly addressed to us, we are much more likely to help those students.”
By practicing smaller professional habits such as email etiquette, students will be more likely to continue professional behaviors into their careers after college.
Conte, who is a math professor on campus, also stressed the importance of practice.
“For math, at least, we talk a lot about practice,” Conte said. “Just because you are watching a professor do something doesn’t mean that you are ready to do it. You have to practice the skills in order to get better at something.”
Senior Abbey Litzau added that carrying a planner also helped her to keep a balanced schedule when it comes to her classes and various organizations.
“I write in all of my exam dates and homework in there,” Litzau said. “I also put my organization meeting times and different events I need to attend in the monthly calendar section.”
Litzau also offered advice to new students who are still adjusting to campus and learning how to balance a busy schedule.
“Plan your day out,” Litzau said. “This will give you a schedule to base the day on. Now, not everybody will flow with that schedule, but it will definitely make a busy day not feel as chaotic.”
Managing schedules and balancing school work with a social calendar can be difficult for anyone, from first year students to fifth-year seniors. It is important to be organized, get to know professors and utilize campus resources to succeed each semester.