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Welcome back Dutchmen: guide to a successful year

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Photo: Alayna Parsons-Valles

Welcome back to another Hope College semester, Dutchmen. As classes begin and extracurriculars take off, it can be overwhelming. How do you make a successful semester?

Number one: Get a planner. No way you can really remember all you have on that checklist of yours. It helps to have everything in one area so you can plan your day more efficiently. A schedule will save you so much time and effort.

Number two: Find your study spot. The key word is your. Feel free to get out of the usual Library bubble. Classrooms are obvious, but those get full fast. You need a backup. I enjoy studying in De Pree and I am not even an art student. Do like Dora and Explore!

Number three: Know your professor’s office hours. A great thing about Hope is the classes are small and the professors actually know your name. You don’t get that at big universities. Go in for help. I get it. We are big kids and have been through it all before, “I can teach myself”, blah, blah, blah. Take advantage. The professors are there to answer your questions. You can even utilize them as someone to just talk through the content with. Building a relationship with your professor can really help you in the future. Even if you don’t have a question, introduce yourself on a deeper level than, “Hi, my name is…” Do it while you can.

Number four: Work ahead. Look at that syllabus and start checking off assignments ahead of when they are due. Right now you are pumped and ready to get work done because of the excitement of new classes. By the middle you’ll get bored and that’s when you start to watch Netflix instead of doing that assignment. Use some of your free time to get a chapter ahead. Believe me, it will help you out in the long run.

Number five
: Klooster Writing Center. Klooster comes in handy whether you feel confident in your writing or don’t. It’s always beneficial to have someone go over your work and play with ideas. They will take anything from creative to research papers. They don’t only fix your problems, they work with you along the way. And the best part, it’s free. They also email your professor you went in for help, and that looks good. Just saying.

Number six: Moderation. Don’t overwhelm yourself. I said working ahead is helpful in the long run, but don’t put too much on your plate. Students sometimes set unrealistic goals and then have no time or energy to get there. Be smart and realistic with the planning.

Number seven: Find time to stay active. I hate running as much as the next person, so that’s not what I am asking you to do. But when you are in class all day and studying, you sometimes don’t realize how much you are sitting. Get up and take a walk. Even a walk around campus will get your blood flowing and may just give you the little boost you need! The Dow and Devos are always there. The bike and elliptical are not that intimidating. I admit it will suck while your doing it, but you will feel great after. You need a healthy body just as much as you need a healthy mind.

Number eight:
Breaks. Take breaks. Even if they are tiny 20 minute ones in-between study sessions. You need to have some fun or else why do people say college is the best four years of your life? Go to the beach, hit up the bowling alley or go out to eat downtown. It’ll give you a breath of fresh air, which we all deserve.

Good luck to everyone this semester. The biggest rule is to do what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go get them Dutchmen!

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