First Day of Class

I asked my wife, Tammy, if she remembers the night before her very first day as an undergraduate student at Clarion University. 

She did.

I also recall the night before I started classes at Penn State University’s main campus.

A million thoughts are probably racing through your heads right now – just like they did for Tammy and I.  What are my professors going to be like?  Will I make new friends?  Am I going to be able to make it in the world of higher education?

The best advice – take it a day at a time.  Cliche; I know.  But this was the same advice I received during a freshman orientation at Penn State.  “Otherwise,” the counselor said, “it can get overwhelming.”

Sweet dreams… and have a great first day of classes on August 25 at BC3!

2 Responses to First Day of Class

  1. Jen Sarabok says:

    A good way to make a smooth transition to college is to get involved.

    Join a club, play a sport, eat or hang out in the Pioneer Cafe between classes. If you’re worried about your classes, stop in the ACE and sign up for tutoring. It’s FREE!

    Just because you’re a commuter student doesn’t mean you can’t spend time on campus when you’re not in class. If you do, you’ll make more friends and get to know your teachers. Before long, BC3 will seem like home.

  2. Deciding to go back to school can feel like an overwhelming task for students transitioning directly from high school and those adults looking for new career opportunities through education. The daily routine of life is demanding: many of us will work full time, have families to care for, and maybe still need to dedicate some energy to being a young adult.

    The difference between a good school experience and a great school experience is responsibility. While I certainly do include taking responsibility for how much time you invest in studying and taking responsibility for showing up to class prepared, I also mean to take responsibility to engage with the school experience. I mean take responsibility to seize the opportunities in front of you in this school experience.

    There is a saying, “Warriors see challenges and opportunity where mortal men see only blessings and curses.” Students, who think that a community college is just a collection of buildings and classes, miss out on the opportunities to learn about themselves in a safe and collegiate atmosphere. Even returning adult students may find new interests and hobbies and passions in a non-credit adult class once they have finished a day preparing themselves for a new career in nursing.

    If it just seems overwhelming, then ask for help. There are plenty of programs on campus to help students succeed. If it is challenging enough to just show up for class, then perhaps, some practical advice may help.

    With a good game plan, completing that degree is possible. Remember this advice.
    • Set a Goal.
    “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” Determine what your education will accomplish. If you want a career that requires a professional or technical degree, then your education plan becomes fairly simple. If there is an area of study that interests you, then your plan is simple as well. However, if you are unsure what you want to study and just want to get your degree then be sure to follow your passion and make an appointment with a guidance counselor who can help you match your vocational desire with the right education.
    • Write It Down.
    Writing goals down creates a mental contract with you. It also allows you to visually see what you want out of your education and how to map out getting there.
    • Set Small Goals.
    Looking at college as a complete two-year program is daunting. It can discourage you from achieving your goals. Break up your program into smaller achievable goals. A journey of a thousand miles is done by taking the trip step-by-step.
    • Create a Support Group.
    Completing a degree program is a challenge that shouldn’t be done alone. Keep your your family and friends updated on your status. Let them help you find ways to support your mission to earn a degree. Giving up is the number one reason why most students don’t finish school
    • Communicate.
    When life may interfere with your coursework, speak with your professors and school advisors. Many times they will help find solutions to work around your schedule. When required courses are not available, ask if there is a possibility for individual study contracts to do the work independently. It is always better to ask and work with the school than to complain later than it nothing could be done.
    • Set a Schedule.
    Poor time management can make completing degree programs seem impossible. Look at ways to maximize your day. Create a set time to study each night. Turn off the phone and TV when it is study time. Minimize distractions like e-mail and instant messaging. Many corporate studies show that distractions like phone calls, text messages and IMs can eat up more than 3 hours of an employees work shift. Imagine how much studying you can get done. Get an egg timer, and set it for 45 minutes. In that time do not stop for any distractions and see just how much work gets done.
    • Believe You Can Do It.
    No one said juggling school, work and family would be easy; but it is possible. Remember that thousands of students have done it. It is only as hard as you make it. If you keep the right attitude, then anything is possible and everything is a positive opportunity.

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