Surviving the mid-year break: Coming back stronger and wiser

Gregory Cutten

First year students, we’ve done it. We’ve made it through the first semester of university. Returning after the break can be as challenging as your first steps through the hallways. We’ve just begun finding our voices and the perfect way to explain exactly what is public relations. Taking the time to recall your strengths and weaknesses will make sure of repeated success or marked improvement from last term. These three tips are great ways to start the turnaround from vacation-mode to student once more.

The Attendance Record

The first year in university is a huge life event. It’s freedom, achievement and responsibility all at once. It can also be a party. Meeting new people, exposure to different opinions, and yes, lots of fun nights can be distracting. However, attending class is part of the experience. Did you ever find yourself missing class after a late night? How about playing dodge ball instead of sitting through a Foundations of Public Relations class? Believe it or not, actually showing up is a great (and easy) way to do well in class. Attendance marks in courses can guarantee an extra 10 per cent. Showing up AND participating, well, that’s even better. Not only will you get the points for being there, but you will also become involved in the discussions. You will begin to take sides, taking a personal interest in the course. This will set you up for success.

Procrastination

Isn’t getting the course syllabus great? It explains the assignments, due dates and percentage value right off the bat. However it can also make it easier to procrastinate. Oh, my “Post-Modern Interpretive Theoretic Essay on the Overuse of Commas in Shakespearian Retellings as Told Through the Lens of Antidisestablishmentarianism” isn’t due until December 1st? Excellent! Suddenly it’s November 29th and it’s easy to find yourself frantically looking for the definition of antidisestablishmentarianism. Write your paper in stages. Plan it out and work on it in the weeks leading up to the due date. Get it done early and your professors will often be happy to look it over for you. Minimize the stress early on and you can see if you are on the right path

Reinforcing the Positives

Okay, maybe first semester was a breeze. You multitasked your way through parties with the exchange students, rocked some karaoke at Vinnie’s, and maybe met a special someone. BANG! Straight A’s. No problem.

How did that happen?

Solid study habits, group work and classroom participation may have helped you succeed. What were the positives? Identify your strengths and keep it up.

We’ve made it. We’re here. We’re university students on a vibrant campus in an exciting city on the path to success. It’s up to us to follow through on the work it took to get here. Keep in mind what has and hasn’t worked up to this point and learn from it.

Have a great winter 2014!