Posted by Martino Britt
My first year back to school ended on a positive note. Being in school presented me with new challenges. Not only did it help me academically, but it helped me professionally and socially as well. I really enjoyed my first year, and I actually surprised myself. Because of some of the classes that I took, I now take a closer look at things that I’m writing, when in the past I wouldn’t have paid any attention to details.
I gained a wealth of knowledge on things that interested me and also on things that did not. I cannot say that this first year was a cakewalk, but I can say that it was very rewarding and fulfilling. Because of things I was exposed to this year, I am excited to return to school in August for my sophomore year.
One of the best things I picked up from this first year is how important GOOD study habits are. For any student, time management is very important. However, when you add in full-time jobs, spouses, children, and other activities, time management is even more important. I learned to make the best use of my time and to schedule time specifically for studying and school-related projects. This kept me organized and well-rounded. I was able to manage my time and not neglect my children, my school work, or my job. I started by taking those times when I would have been watching a little TV or just sitting around and made those times where I would do something relevant to myself or my family. It was not easy, but I did begin to get fulfillment from my days.
Another good habit I learned was taking good notes that are relevant to what I need to know. I learned to listen and watch for key phrases or words that instructor(s) would write down or repeat more than once. This was invaluable because there was no way I could write everything down, but I did really well by watching for those key things and paying attention to the amount of time spent on a subject or topic. These are just a couple of the things I know that helped me to succeed in my first year.
There is one thing I found surprising. I was surprised that not every single one of my classmates was utilizing the Saint Louis University (SLU) Writing Center. This Center is an invaluable tool that was essential to my sanity and success throughout this year. I plan to continue to make regular use of this resource throughout my time at SLU. I submitted some of my papers at least 5-6 times before turning them in, and each time I took what the Writing Consultant had to say and made adjustments. Using the center helped me to reinforce some of the rules I learned in class. I recommend the Writing Center to every student, especially those who have a hard time narrowing or focusing their topics when writing.
These are just some of the things that I feel added to my academic success this year, and I am pretty sure that if I continue to do these simple things in the fall and the future I will continue to enjoy the same successes throughout my time at SLU.
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