Students looking for a fresh start in a new semester should heed the words of a campus administrator: go to class.
Students’ biggest issue with classes is their relationship with teachers and poor attendance, said Clare Mitchell, assistant dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.
“The single worst habit students have is not going to class. You’re paying for it. That’s why you’re here, and yet students don’t always go,” she said. “The second-biggest mistake is not letting your instructors in your life.”
Mitchell said faculty are great resources because they know many people in their industries and a lot about the university.
“Take advantage of their expertise. How can a teacher help students if they don’t know a student is having a problem?” she said.
Mitchell said students should be aware of deadlines, use teachers’ designated office hours, talk to people whether it’s in class or on campus, and go to class.
Students are sometimes unaware of the tools surrounding them that are present for their success, she said.
Programs and facilities such as the New Media Center in the Communications Building, Morris Library, the Writing Center, math tutoring, the Wellness Center, Disability Support Services or the Sports Medicine facility, which provides free rehabilitation, are all available for student use.
The university provides various services for students with special needs as well.
Bryan Dallas, coordinator of Disability Support Services, said DSS helps students be successful by providing accommodations for their classes.
“One of the main things I do is ensure students with print disabilities gain access to audio books or other accessible reading materials,” he said. “I focus a lot on assistive technology as well. For example, speech-to-text programs, so our students are independent with the use of a computer.”
With all of the services, programs and facilities available for students to use, students have many opportunities to excel. Faculty, staff and facilities are available resources whether in classes, exercising or counseling.
The Wellness Center provides educational and individual services to help students succeed, said Christy Hamilton, wellness coordinator of Student Health Services.
“One major problem that people have in the semester is students don’t focus on their time management and their health habits early enough,” she said. “The key is to think about getting very organized this week.”
Hamilton said students should get a master calendar and write down due dates, exam dates and class times so they can stay on schedule and not fall behind.
She said arriving early to class, making good impressions, building relationships with instructors early and paying attention in class helps students redeem themselves from a slacking fall semester.
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and getting enough rest are also helpful habits to improve success in class, she said.
“Getting plenty of rest is going to keep your body and your brain working at its most optimum level, and that’s going to be very important when you’re trying to multitask, manage money, [finish] things on your to-do list, and being able to pay attention,” she said.
Ryan Vickers, a sophomore from Fairview Heights studying history, said focusing on grades early improves his chance of succeeding in classes.
“I didn’t direct all my attention to grades as early as I should have as far as studying habits and getting organized,” Vickers said. “This semester I plan on creating a study schedule on my own and going to tutors to improve my grades.”
He said initiating good habits in the early part of the semester, such as writing goals on study agendas and joining organizations that build motivation, help mend a bad fall semester.
Asha Bell, a freshman from Zion studying biological sciences, said attending study sessions, going to the library and studying with friends helped her with classes last semester.
“My best friend from home and new friends I met along the semester really helped me grow as a person and student,” she said.
Even the students that did well last semester should be reminded of the importance of carrying on the same regimen this spring, Bell said.
For those who didn’t fare as well, she said, help is available for the students who seek it.