Starting Anew

By Adela Penagos, PhD, President

We are well into the New Year and I wonder, are we keeping up with all our resolutions?  Often we start very strong, but somehow along the way, we lose steam. Is it that we have too many goals in mind? There are many books and plenty of writers that try to make us change into manageable small habits to make sure we keep on track.  From my experience inside and outside the classroom, it is consistency and determination that make winners, particularly when it comes to bringing up your grades or transferring successfully to a new institution, which go hand in hand and seem to be to goals of many of the students I work with on a regular basis.

So how do you turn the tide around if last semester was not exactly what you were expecting.

1. Change Your Study Habits.

As someone who has taught at the high school level and at three different universities, students who show up into the classroom without having opened the book prior to our class puzzle me.  As I start asking questions, those who did not prepare look down and others open the book frantically trying to find the vocabulary word, grammatical or cultural concept to answer my questions. As I witness all of this, I wonder, do they really not realize that I can see through them that they did not bother to prepare? Lack of preparation will hinder you from succeeding in the classroom and beyond. It is only February you can still turn the tide around and if you are thinking of transferring to a new school, your academic record, and not extracurricular activities, will be your ticket to make your case.

Starting Anew A Successful Path

2. Spend less time on social media. 

While it is great that we are able to keep in touch with our friends and family through Instagram, FaceTime, and texting, many of us have become addicted to social media. Those more depending on it are currently in college. Unfortunately, students do not even realize how much time they spend on their electronic gadgets. More importantly, they are unaware that they spend more time connecting to those who are not with them than those around them. As a result, they are missing the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting relationships. We are social beings and need one another to accomplish greatness. Hence, instead of being virtually connected to others, try to connect to those around you. Being fulfilled in your personal life will translate to your success in the classroom and you may end up finding out that you love your school after all and your desire to transfer in merely a fad.

3. Look for balance.

Spending all our time in only one activity during the day is not a good thing. Similarly, trying to do everything and be the best causes a lot of stress. Thus, it is important to learn to say no to those items that are forcing you to overextend yourself.  One lesson I have learned is that the only way to get a sense of where I have invested my time is by keeping track of my activities. Hence, having a daily calendar to record my time helps me decide where I want my time to go depending on my priorities. This gives me balance, perspective, and a sense of ownership of my time, which in turns helps me with keeping those New Year resolutions alive. The more consistent you are with your time tracker, the easier it will be to decide where to adjust and keep a balanced day.

 Hopefully, 2016 has started very well for you and if there were things that did not go as planned last semester, you are making adjustments to change your outcomes this semester. Remember that every day is an opportunity to start anew.