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New Year, Fresh Start

The start of each new year sparks reflection and looking forward. In that vein, you are probably doing the same as you prepare to go back to school. With one semester under your belt, you likely learned lessons in the fall about what did – and did not – work in regard to classes, your social life, professional connections.

No matter how the fall semester came to a close, that’s done and you now have another 16 weeks to create the college life you want. That’s the beauty of college. Each grading period is a fresh start and a new opportunity to positively impact your GPA. Also, you are building on the foundational knowledge you gained in the fall for any courses that continue into the next semester (e.g. Calculus I and Calculus II). Each semester, particularly in your early college years, are the chance for you to show up and show out.

There is no magic formula for having a great semester, but there are some things that work better than others. While I can’t do the work for you, I can offer suggestions based on what has been successful for my students over the years. Some of these suggestions may be old hat to many of you, but for others they will be right on time.

Start by looking at what did work. Keep those things and think about how you might apply those practices or strategies to other areas of your college life. Also think about the things you want to improve and/or do differently. My challenge to you is to think of how to meet your spring 2020 goals from a larger, broad perspective. Identify the people in your support system who can play a role in the strategies you are using to build the successful semester you envision. They may be friends for accountability or down time, family for support, or instructors for better understanding course content. Whoever they are, think about how and where they fit into your Spring 2020 goals. I’m not the only person who will tell you that no one gets through college alone. Know the type of support you need – whether it’s academic, professional, or personal – and find the people who fit the bill for each.

What’s the takeaway? The moral of this story is that spring semester is a time for renewal. Use that to advantage by knowing who you are, what you need, and how to get it. If you have difficulty with any of those things, ask someone . . . your instructors . . . your academic advisor . . . you instructors . . . me. We are all here to help you get where you want to be.



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