Jordan to learn in order to be a

Jordan Lewis

Professor Lagemann

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New Student Seminar

12 December 2017

Strategies to be a Successful Student

When beginning your
first semester as a college student, there are certain things you should
consider doing. In my opinion, there are ten very important strategies to learn
in order to be a successful student for the next few years at college. Incoming
students should think about setting some goals and planning ways to reach those
goals, you should organize your space well, manage your time well, consider
beginning your journey to find a career, discover your type of learning style,
know how to prepare and take tests, quizzes and exams, make sure you stay
active and exercise, keep track of and stick to a sleep schedule, manage your
stress levels, and make sure to keep track of your finances.

It is important,
especially for a first-year college student, to set some short and long-term
goals and create steps as to how one would go about accomplishing those goals.
First year students should know about this strategy as they are nearing the
beginning of the school year so that they can plan out what they want to do,
where they want to go in life. A short-term goal is a type of achievement that
could be completed in a few days, a few weeks, or even a month. A long-term
type goal is a goal that is set to be completed within the next few years or
so. For example, some people set a long-term goal of graduating in four years
with a bachelor’s degree of science or art. During the time of this goal they
think about things they can do or things they can improve on in order to ensure
that they achieve this goal. Someone might also set a short-term goal of
getting straight A’s by the end of the semester and to ensure that they do get
good grades, they would create steps to help and guide them to this goal. The
book, College Success,
gives a good example of people setting goals and taking certain steps to
achieve those goals. For example, “To help his widowed mother, Juan went to
work full time after high school but now, a few years later, he’s dissatisfied
with the kinds of jobs he has been able to get and has begun taking computer
programming courses in the evening. He’s often tired after work, however, and
his mother would like him to spend more time at home. Sometimes he cuts class
to stay home and spend time with her” (ELI, Lumen Learning), Juan set a goal
for himself to help support his widowed mother and to do that he took the
necessary steps, he believed, in order to reach that goal and support his
mother. He went full time after high school to make some money to possibly help
his mother with house or car payments, but he wasn’t satisfied with making that
little money and he decide to take matters into his own hands and started to
take computer programming courses in the evening while still working in the
morning because he want to be able to make more money. To help first year
students to set goals and possibly help them to make steps to completing those
goals, one could go to the Center for Career Services office at Montclair State
to talk with someone about goal setting and things they can do to keep them on
track with those goals.

Another strategy a
first-year student should consider learning about is managing one’s space
correctly. Managing one’s space can be something as simple as moving the desk
to a certain spot in your room so you won’t be facing anything that might
distract you, or moving the bed away from your desk so you won’t be tempted to
just hop in it and take a nap instead of studying or doing homework. A
first-year student can use this strategy in many ways, they can start by moving
the desk and face it in the direction of the wall so they won’t be distracted
by the tv if someone is using it or they won’t be distracted by a gaming system
that they have been dying to play all day. Managing space does not have to be
restricted to just moving furniture around the room it could also mean using
certain spaces for certain things. For example, your bed should be a place and
symbol of relaxation so it should be only used for just sleeping or just lying
down. Your desk is a place of work and is meant to get stuff done like homework
or studying, so the desk should be a place to do these things without getting
distracted by outside distractions. According to College Success,
in order to have success in managing your space right you should work on task
one at a time and not try and multitask. “‘Okay,’ you might be thinking, ‘why
should it matter if I write my paper first and then answer e-mails or do them
back and forth at the same time?’ It actually takes you longer to do two or
more things at the same time than if you do them separately—at least with
anything that you actually have to focus on, such as studying” (ELI, Lumen
Learning), stating that it is important for students to designate certain areas
for certain task such as a bed for sleeping or a desk for studying. At
Montclair State, you could talk to some upper classmen and ask for help on how
to manage your space better to get the most out of your room or you could go to
the Office of Residence Life and talk with them about better ways to manage the
space in your dorm.

Time management is a
very important strategy and skill for a first-year student to have. If you
manage time correctly, you will have time to do fun things and go to events on
campus as well as get your work done on time and be done efficiently. Time
management can be anything from what time you will take a shower and eat
breakfast every day, to how long will you spend working on a paper each day
until it is due. In order to manage your time better you first need to know
what you spend most of your time doing and what you can do to adjust  and
work that around a schedule that you will create. You need to learn how to
practice this strategy over and over again until it becomes routine and you
have to learn how to combat and prevent procrastination. For example, one can
use something as simple as a calendar or planner to keep you on track on things
you need to do and when you should do it to ensure that it is done on time. The
most important thing to remember when managing your time is what can you do to
minimize procrastination. Procrastination is the number one enemy of time
management. College Success describes it very well stating, “Procrastination
is a way of thinking that lets one put off doing something that should be done.
This can happen to anyone at any time. It’s like a voice inside your head keeps
coming up with these brilliant ideas for things to do right now other than
studying” (ELI, Lumen Learning), procrastination can be anything like going
from saying “I’m going to go study” to “maybe I’ll just play one game on my
Xbox really quick and then get back to studying” next thing you know it is four
hours later and it is almost twelve midnight. If a first-year student needs
help developing their time management skills, they can go to the Office of
Residence Life or they can go to the Center for Advising & Student
Transitions(CAST) to get help from fellow peers on how to manage their time
better and more efficiently.

Most first-year students
do not realize that it would be a good idea to start looking into careers and
internships starting their freshman year. It is important for students going
into their first year to discover who they are and what they want to do for the
rest of their life. After they get themselves settled in the first month of
school they should immediately start to look for internships, co-ops, or just
someone volunteer work for experience. The book, College Success,
states, “Career exploration and job hunting are not short-term projects but
processes that continue over time” (ELI, Lumen Learning). Career exploration
should be an ongoing process and should begin your first year. When I first
came to Montclair, job searching was not the first thing that came to mind, the
only thing I was worried about was not failing my first semester. One day, a
career counselor came into my New Student Seminar class and spoke with us about
when job exploration should begin and how to start, which I believe really
helped me. I may not have been able to start looking for internships the
beginning of my freshman year but after that presentation I went back to my
dorm and did some research about some internships available the following
summer for my sophomore year. One place you can go to help you with this
process is The Center for Career Services, which can help you get stuff out
there, for example your resume, and you can also talk to them about potential
things you would like to be a part of like volunteer work just to gain some
experience in the field that you are in.

The next strategy a
first-year student should know about is how to discover your type of learning
style. Some people may already have this part down by the end of high school,
but there is no harm in trying to rediscover your learning style because the
way they teach things in high school are very different from how things are
taught in college. For example, when I first arrived at my Psychology 101
class, I did not realize what I was in for. When I was in high school I was so
used to teachers either giving us notes to fill in or having a slideshow
presentation for us to copy down. The first time my teacher taught we just took
out our notebooks and had to begin to write down whatever she said and that was
a shock for me at first. Of course I have adjusted now and I am used to it but
the adjustment was not easy. I had to learn ways I could abbreviate words in
order to keep up with her talking and I had to learn how to write faster.
According to College Success, there are four steps in the learning style that
you must master in order to rediscover how you learn, “Think first about the
different situations in which you learn. Obviously you learn during class,
whether by listening to the instructor speak or in class discussions in which
you participate. But also learn while reading your textbooks and other
materials outside of class. You learn when you talk with an instructor during
office hours. You learn by talking with other students informally in study
groups. You learn when you study your class notes before an exam. All of these
different learning situations involve the same four-step process” (ELI, Lumen
Learning), these four steps are preparing, absorbing, capturing, and reviewing.
To help first year students with this learning strategy, there are plenty of
workshops all around campus for different subjects. For example, there is a
writing workshop to help students with papers, you could talk fellow peers and
try and make a study group or you could talk to your professor about the best
way to succeed in that class.

for and taking quizzes and exams is also an important strategy for first-years
students to develop. Some students have what is called test anxiety, whether it
be they have a hard time studying for the exam or if they remember something
that they couldn’t remember during the test. Those examples are just small
symptoms of test anxiety, but these symptoms can be overcome or controlled. For
example, one great way to reduce test anxiety is to actually be prepared and
review the material, according to College Success, “A primary cause of
test anxiety is not knowing the material. If you take good class and reading
notes and review them regularly, this stressor should be greatly reduced if not
eliminated” (ELI, Lumen Learning), hence the reason it is important to take
good notes in class and record even the smallest of details in the lecture.
Incoming students can go to the Academic Success Center to obtain help on test
taking and note taking during lectures to better improve their grades and
reduce test anxiety.

            It is very
important to stay active and exercise regularly or as often as possible. The
most talked about thing incoming freshmen hear about is the freshman fifteen.
While the freshman fifteen actually happens and is true, it does not have to
happen to everyone. When I first came to Montclair, I had already learned about
the freshman fifty from my brother who graduated from college, the same year I graduated
from high school, and I was determined to not let that happen to me so I
decided to work out regularly or as often as possible. College Success puts
it best when it states the benefits of exercise, “Regular exercise has many
benefits for your body and mind. You’ll also be a better student. It is easier
to make exercise a regular part of your life if you explore your interests and
join activities with others. The time you spend exercising will be made up for
with increased ability to concentrate when it’s time to study” (ELI, Lumen
Learning), I felt more energized and doing better as a student when I began to
work out regularly. The campus has a Recreation Center open from six in the
morning to either twelve or one at night. The rec center has many fun
activities for students to do and for them to make new connections but most
importantly, in this case, the rec center has a gym and is free for all Montclair
state students.

            One thing
I wish I had done was stick to a better sleep schedule. I encourage all incoming
freshmen to go to bed and wake up at reasonable times, otherwise they will be
mentally and physically drained from the lack of sleep. At the start of the
semester I did not really take sleep that seriously, I would stay up to about
two or sometimes three in the morning just playing video games and would wake
up the next day and almost miss my classes. Freshman, in general, in college do
not really understand the importance of sleep until it catches up to them and
they have to fight to get themselves to bed or out of bed. “Like good nutrition
and exercise, adequate sleep is crucial for wellness and success. Sleep is
particularly important for students because there seem to be so many time
pressures—to attend class, study, maintain a social life, and perhaps work—that
most college students have difficulty getting enough. Yet sleep is critical for
concentrating well” (ELI, Lumen Learning), there are so many times where I could
go back and tell myself not to go to bed at three in the morning because you
will regret it. There is really no on campus resource to help you with your
sleep schedule but take it from upper classmen who have been there and also
take it from me, get as much sleep as you possibly can you will be able to
concentrate better and do better in school.

            Managing your stress is very important in college, if you
don’t manage your stress it will take over your mind. There are different ways
to deal with stress, there are stress balls, meditation, and many more ways.
College students are the most affected by stress, “We all live with occasional
stress. Since college students often feel even more stress then most people, it’s
important to understand it and learn ways to deal with it so it doesn’t disrupt
your life” (ELI, Lumen Learning), the biggest and most commonly known example
of stress in college is finals week. Finals week is the peak of all stress for
college students, but there are ways to control and manage stress levels.
Montclair offers on campus workshops about stress management, all students are
welcome and you can learn the best ways to control stress and also ways to not
let it control you.

            The last
strategy that I believe all incoming students should be informed about is how
to keep track of their finances. “Taking control of your personal finances
begins with thinking about your goals and deciding what really matters to you”
(ELI, Lumen Learning), there are so many deadlines and so many payments that
must be made prior to and during the academic year. It is important for
students to keep track of certain payments that must be made at certain times
and also keep track of the available money that they possess and should spend
it wisely. For example, be sure to apply for financial aid each year and make
sure to get any other loans that might be needed. There are also on campus jobs
available for students to make money either for themselves or that money will
be put towards their tuition. Along with making money there also comes a
responsibility of spending less and keeping track of what you buy and how much
money you spend. This is also a good time to start building credit because you
can only do so much, in today’s world, without any credit. People need good
credit for things like buying a car or purchasing a house or apartment. At
Montclair state, students can go to the Office of Financial Aid for any help
that they need regarding finances and ways to manage it.

In conclusion, the first year of college is most likely the
most stressful and challenging year for first-year students because they are
forced to think and make decision about stuff they do not even have on their
mind and are not worried about at the moment. There are ten important
strategies that all incoming students need to learn in order to have success in
the next few years at college. Incoming students should think about setting
some goals and planning ways to reach those goals, you should organize your
space well, manage your time well, consider beginning your journey to find a
career, discover your type of learning style, know how to prepare and take
tests, quizzes and exams, make sure you stay active and exercise, keep track of
and stick to a sleep schedule, manage your stress levels, and make sure to keep
track of your finances. If you learn about all of these strategies and
master them, then an incoming student will be set for success in the future










Jordan Lewis

Professor Lagemann

New Student Seminar

12 December 2017


ELI (Extended Learning
Institute at NOVA), Lumen Learning. “College
Success.” College

Success |
Simple Book Production, Dec. 2012,
Web. 7. Dec. 2017.


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