Note Taking in Class

Reality Check: Summer’s Over

The beginning of the school year marks the return of school work. Some students return to college already used to the rhythm and volume of homework. Some freshmen are just starting out and are experiencing it all for the first time.

No matter what, it’s always an adjustment. For most, there was no homework to worry about over the summer, and there was no waking up for tiring 8:30 classes. Papers were a thing of the past, and the only reading done was recreational. Even if students are used to a schedule and routine, those who live on campus have to re-adjust to living away from home. For some freshmen, this may be even more difficult as this could be the first time they are staying away from their families. 

The adjustment can be hard, especially for those who are signed up for a heavy course load or are taking classes that they are having difficulty with. With five or six professors all assigning homework at once, it’s easy to feel like the course work is piling up. 

However, some students find it easy to get back into the swing of things, especially considering the bridge that syllabus week creates. The week is often considered to be the easiest in the school year, as teachers go over the syllabus and only give out one or two assignments.  

“I feel like I had a break, and now I’m ready to go back to school,” said Malia Padalino, a sophomore English major, “I’m going back into the year relaxed and not stressed out, so it makes it easier to keep up with the course load. Classes start off slow, and you don’t have too much homework in the beginning, so it’s not hard to get back into the swing of things. They ease you back in with a few homework assignments here and there, so it’s a gradual return to school mode.” 

“The teachers go pretty slow at first,” agreed sophomore chemistry major Lauren Lucia. “They give you a lot of time, and they give you the help you need.” 

One of the best pieces of advice for students adjusting to the school year is to stay organized, and make sure to stay on top of assignments. Getting a planner, keeping a list, writing notes on your phone – do whatever it takes to make sure that you know what all of your assignments are. While individual homework assignments may only be worth a few points apiece, those lost points can quickly pile up, resulting in lowered grades. 

Another important tip is to  always keep up with the reading. Don’t just read the text – make sure that you understand and absorb it. One of the best ways to do so is to go through and annotate. For some students, simply highlighting the text is enough, others write notes in the margins, while some find it best to make an outline. Perhaps a combination of these things works most effectively; perhaps it’s another style of note-taking entirely. It all depends on the individual student and what helps them learn best. 

There are also a lot of resources available to help students succeed throughout the school year right here on campus. 

Free tutoring services are available for every class offered at the University, and many professors have office hours which students can utilize to ask for help. At the writing center, students can have their papers reviewed, critiqued, and proofread.

There are also advisors available, who can try to help students deal with any problems that may arise throughout the school year. Students can also visit the Department of Psychological Services, found on the third floor of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center, if they feel the need to talk to anyone.