EXCELLING IN A DIFFICULT MAJOR
do the work
this is probably the most obvious one, but why not still add it to the list. yes work will be hard and will sometimes pile up, but it comes with the major. we’ve all had those moments when we think “I don’t want to do this work. I can still do fine in the class if I skip this one assignment”. BUT, you pull yourself together and do it because it gets you one step closer to your goal.
organization is the ultimate major key. so whether it is putting things in your calendar on your phone, having a huge bulletin board with stickies, or my personal favorite, an old fashioned planner. Pay attention to the syllabus given to you. I would write down in my agenda book when tests and big assignments were scheduled. Being organized will ensure that you are on top of it all.
get a head start on things will prepare you for upcoming topics, quizzes, etc. A tip that helped me in my hardest classes were reading (more like a quick scan) the chapter before coming to class. The thing all teachers tell you to do but students rarely do. This way you are exposed to the material before hand, allowing you to prepare questions for class.
schedules can get hectic and even a little overwhelming. But always remember that in the midst of all the work, projects and planning for the future, set it aside and take time to relax and let loose. Life is all about balance. All work and no play makes no one happy (believe me, I've tried) Take the time to spend time with family, take a class at the gym, or plan a night out with friends. This relieves stress and makes it easier to focus when your mind is in a good place.
find a mentor
find someone that can help you and encourage you in this journey. Someone that has gone through your major or a teacher or advisor that you look to up to. For me, this was and still is the dean of the SEMS program, Dr. Maria Kalevitch. This intelligent woman encouraged me when I was down, introduced me to opportunities dealing with my major, and never hesitated to write me an awesome recommendation. Being on a lacrosse team, I had teammates older than me that had taken classes that I was enrolled in. They lent me books and gave me tips on different teachers. Having people like these in your corner is important.
build connections with your teachers
now, I am not advocating that being a teachers pet is the best way to excel in your major. However, I do believe that building some type of connection with your teacher is vital. Doing the little things like being interactive in class and going into your teachers office during their office hours for extra help shows that you are serious about your education. All teachers want to see is that their students are will do what it takes to learn and excel. This positive relationship with your teachers Sometimes it pays being a teachers pet. Go in for help, ask questions, sit in the front of the class. Building that connection shows the teacher you are serious about your education and this may come in handy during exam time.
speak it into existence
speaking positivity over your life is essential! Negativity will get you no where. But saying your goals and things you want out loud or writing them down on a vision board will allow you to hold yourself accountable, ensuring that you remember to work at it every day.
know how you study best. Not everyone studies the same. Sometimes figuring out how you study best can be a long process. In fact, I still am trying to tweak things here and there to figure out the most productive way to study. This involves trial and error and getting creative. However trust me, once you figure this out you can basically rule the world! Knowing yourself also means knowing what you can and can't handle. Sometimes all the extracurricular activities you're involved in may not allow you to study the amount of hours you need to. Being real with yourself is the first step to excelling in your major.
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