Self expectations: holding yourself up to better standards

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Spring semester has arrived, and given the new academic challenges we are all about to face, it’s time to turn the tables and start expecting better from ourselves as students in the school environment.

In many online articles written by college students, a popular topic discussed is past and future professors. Students set the bar pretty high for a professor’s performance: they must be clear on due dates, assign less homework, less lecture, etc. Students often skip on the notion that setting few standards for themselves could go a long way.

Some would call me nuts for walking into the position of opinion editor following the legendary Matthew Jacobsen. As a staff writer, I shivered at the thought of being an editor, but also admired Jacobsen for his talent. I imagined taking on the job many semesters from now, but I didn’t expect I’d perform very well on the job.

Well, the day has come and all I can do is take a few deep breaths and become confident in my abilities. Students will feel great amounts of stress this time of year, but a clear mind and a confidence to be reckoned with will make the difference between a miserable semester and a successful one.

Take these examples of personal expectations into consideration.

This semester, I expect myself to remember to write down of all my assignments. I can’t keep on falsely convincing myself I have a photographic memory. Neither can you. Chances are, only a small percentage of us at Dixie State University have a true photographic memory. Something as simple as a hand-sized notepad would make an excellent homework tracking device.

When it comes to my new professors, I expect myself to make my own judgement of them rather than go off what I hear from everyone else. This can be a debatable and dangerous approach. Sometimes a student’s experience with a particular teacher is ruined by misconceptions prior to actually meeting the teacher. But I also see nothing wrong with getting a little scoop on professors; sometimes the things you find out can intrigue you into taking the class.

More than not, the rumors and opinions of others aren’t remotely as detrimental to your educational experience as they seem to be. I heard many negative perspectives about several of my new professors to only be pleasantly grateful that I gave them a chance to teach me something new.

I encourage students to take the class and then make an unbiased decision on whether to stay. There’s plenty of time to drop and switch courses if need be. So don’t sweat it if the first go at it doesn’t work out. Give every teacher a chance.

This semester, I will seek help when I need it. Students, for some unknown reason, don’t utilize their resources as much as they should. It seems silly to me that students come to college to learn but are afraid to ask for help when they need it.

If this fear was minimized, we wouldn’t feel the need take short cuts, like cheating and plagiarizing, just to pass the class. Asking professors specific questions about an assignment has a greater chance of improving a grade than making it worse.

The last thing I expect myself to do better this semester is the simple act of taking care of my mind and body. Pulling an all-nighter to catch up on school work is a good thing from time to time. Although, I hope students recognize there’s a problem when all-nighters occur multiple times a week, especially if they aren’t always to finish essays and projects.

Treat your mind and body with respect. Any form of exercise you can fit in your day makes all the difference. You will feel happier, pumped up to get through the day, and your mind will be clearer.

Then, go home and give your body the rest it deserves. Sometimes it’s better to sacrifice another hour of study time for an extra hour of sleep. The start up of these good habits won’t be as hard as you think. The real challenge is keeping them up till the end of the semester.

Find your motivators: What gets your blood pumping about the new semester? The new classes? New cute girls or boys to meet in class? A chance to redeem that ugly GPA?

Motivations vary from student to student. Nonetheless, don’t forget why you’re here in the first place. Do your best, take care of yourself, and give everything a chance. A little simplicity will clear the waters for you and ease your school woes from now till graduation.