Hello blog readers! I hope you and your students enjoyed the winter break and are ready for the new semester! There are some great upcoming topics for blogs including how to find a house off campus, looking for summer jobs, information about course options and much much more! Today's post is all about students coming back to campus and making this semester the best it can be.
Coming back to campus after the winter holidays can evoke many feelings in students. Some feel apprehensive about leaving home again, others are excited to see their friends from university again, some are nervous about new courses, others are looking forward to having a fresh academic start and some students are feeling more emotions than they can count. Generally, I find the way a student looks at the upcoming semester can make a huge difference in how he/she feels and can help determine the outcome of the semester.
I like to view each semester as a fresh start with the opportunity to improve upon previous semesters both academically and personally. Typically, I start out with some sort of goal or improvement I’d like to make from the previous semester. For example, last semester I didn’t find any time to exercise so this semester I’m determined to get to the gym. I also found that I didn’t stay on top of my course readings as much as I wanted to so this semester I want to do my readings before the corresponding lectures. For all the goals I set for myself, I come up with an action plan on how to accomplish them. To stay on top of my readings, I decided to make a to do list with the date I want to get each reading done by. When students are making goals, they should remember to ensure their goals are achievable.
While I don’t pretend to know what goals your students should set, I find that second semester is a great time to start getting involved on campus. Usually students feel more comfortable making time commitments because they now understand what is expected of them academically and they also have a better idea of what they can get involved in and how. To start searching for ideas, the Central Student’s Association’s website provides a list of all their clubs on campus (http://www.csaonline.ca/clubs/2010/Clubs_F10.pdf). I would also recommend that students talk to their college governments and you can find links to their information here: http://studentlife.uoguelph.ca/parents/college-and-college-government-we....
Of course, while getting involved is fulfilling for many students, we’re all ultimately here for educational purposes and academic goals cannot be ignored. I find that a lot of first year students aren’t overjoyed with their marks from first semester. On average, students experience a 10-12% decrease in their grades compared to high school. For some students, this can be a very disappointing experience and they might feel like it’s a reflection of their abilities. However, there’s a lot more at play which is briefly described in the attached article written by Joannah O’Hatnick from Learning Services. For students who are disappointed in their grades from first semester, I suggest that they critically evaluate their habits during the past semester and look for ways to improve. I don’t mean to imply that a student has done something “wrong” during first semester, simply that often students can find better or more effective ways of learning.
In conclusion, it’s beneficial for students to look ahead at the new semester with optimism. Regardless of how first semester went, they can make this semester even better and more fulfilling both academically and personally.
Here’s to a new semester!
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