Spring semester at college is often a chore. The weather competes for our attention. Thoughts of summer—whether it be vacation or job hunting—crowd our consciousness. “Distracted” and “overwhelmed” are frequent complaints.
There is a cure, however. We have polled our resident experts at Minnesota School of Business for their secrets to a successful spring quarter. Here is their advice:
1. First, you have to go to class. Health Fitness Program Chair Scott Eide is more than serious on the subject. If you’re not in class, you’re already behind, and catch-up is no fun. Sure the flirtation with sunshine after a miserable winter is on your mind. But the more you miss, the more you want/need to miss, and hopelessness sets in. So even once is too much. Being there prepares you for what’s next. Eide gets a little help from his pal Aristotle on this point: “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”
2. Start with a mindset to your reading. Once you’re in class, the job becomes active reading and listening, Eide stresses. Reading for understanding of content (vs. reading for test preparation) prepares you to become a practicing professional. It offers connections of terms, principles and concepts. It promotes a layering of knowledge. It also leads to critical thinking and problem solving—necessary skills in the workplace.
3. Organize your life. Massage Therapy Program instructor Michelle Willenbring swears by the plan. Make a schedule that includes time for homework and stick to it. Start assignments right away and pace your school work. Try to space things evenly so you don’t overload with school, job and family. Utilize the tutoring center. Shower the night before. Eat healthy snacks throughout the day. Don’t forget sleep!
4. Treat school like work advises Career and Academic Services Coordinator Jessica Ward. Dress professionally to make an impression and set the tone for yourself. Hand in your work like you would to an employer (in excellent condition, on time and without excuses.) Market yourself. “Remember,” she says, “you made an investment in your future and in you.”
5. Go the extra mile. Career Services Representative Tammy Hansen uses the example of a recent student to address her point. He was enthusiastic in class, always did his assignments and took the extra advice on job search tips. On an assignment for listing references, Hansen recalls, “Instead of just making up a job title for the assignment, he decided to call his old boss to find out her current title. When he called she told him she was just about to run an ad in the paper for helpdesk/customer service and [asked] ‘What are you up to?’” The student was set to graduate in six weeks with an associate degree in Information Technology, and she offered him an interview that very day. He is currently employed at Marco and loves it.
In other words, the sun will still be shining in June. Begin with the end in mind this spring semester!