Getting off on the good foot

Many associate the new year with a time to make a change. New Year’s resolutions are made and often broken.

However, New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be broken as quickly as they are made. ABC News quoted from Cheryl Richardson’s book, Stand Up for Your Life, practical suggestions for techniques that can help resolutions come to fruition. Richardson recommended focusing on one thing to change at a time, according to ABC News.

“Each semester I make the same resolutions to get my work done and to not miss class, but I always end up falling back into the same pattern after a few weeks,” said USF student Jamie Ralston.

Richardson said that after a priority is chosen, five steps should be taken.

First, decide what needs to be done. Next, get support, because this gives accountability. The third step is to list 10 ways the change will positively affect your life. Fourth, get into a routine of regularly assessing how close to the goal you’ve become. The final step is to plan ahead for obstacles.

Starting out on the right foot and meeting set goals is even more significant for college students. Coming back from the winter break, students have a chance to start fresh with a new set of classes and professors.

Starting out the right way in classes can end up setting the standard for how well a student will work during the rest of the semester. Thus, it is advisable to make an extra effort during the beginning of the semester.

Angie Hansen, who currently teaches in the College of Education, gives advice to students on this subject.

“The best way for a student to make a good first impression is to arrive on time, come in prepared and ready to participate in class,” Hansen said. “Introducing himself or herself before or after class doesn’t hurt either.”

She also recommends students to come to class early and regularly and to take a good seat. Taking notes and being actively involved in the class early on can give students the right start, Hansen said.

“I think that most students need help with organization,” she said. “They need to keep a planner and keep weekly and semester schedules. They need to plan study time and plan when they will work on their big projects.”

Hansen also recommends that students have a separate notebook for every class and that they keep all materials, such as notes, handouts and assignments, together.

In her experience, Hansen has also noticed bad tendencies college students have. She said many students don’t work hard for their grades in high school, and then they take those bad habits with them into college.

“The biggest mistakes I see students make are missing classes and missing assignments,” said Hansen. “It is so much more work to try to catch up and, if the material is challenging, it is almost impossible for many students.”I also see a lot of students who do not pay attention to their own performance,” she added. “They miss a few classes and a few assignments, yet they act shocked when they discover they have a poor grade. “

Pursuing her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Education, Hansen takes her own advice in the classes she is enrolled in.

“Perhaps the most important thing I do is ask myself:’What do I want to get out of this class?’ “I try to find a way to be interested in every class I take and learn as much as I can. After all, I am paying for the classes and would like to think I come out knowing more than when I came in.”