Maintaining semester resolutions just got easier with these new tips from Dixie State University students and staff.
Before every school year, many create a mental checklist to set academic goals. According to Harvard Health Publication “Why it’s Hard to Change Unhealthy Behavior and Why You Should Keep Trying,” these goals can be hard to maintain because they are overwhelming and aren’t created with a positive outlook. With too many goals in place, this limits an individual’s attention and dedication to any single goal.
“You have to learn how to prioritize and manage your time,” said Nicole Jacobson, a sophomore nursing major from Orem.
English Professor Cameron Hansen said he plans to take care of issues promptly but to also maintain a balance in his life.
“I want to look at things that come my way and evaluate them to see what priority they should have and then act on them accordingly,” Hansen said.
The key is to set achievable goals by writing them down and telling others about it, Jacobson said. People tend to also keep up with your goals by asking about them, she added.
“It holds you more accountable, and you are more likely to accomplish the goal,” Jacobson said.
Study groups are another alternative to keep you and your friends on track, said Jordan Noyes, a senior dental hygiene major from Cleveland.
“Before the [dental hygiene] program, I was a mess and hardly studied,” Noyes mentioned. “A study group helps hold me responsible.”
For some students, using a planner or calendar is crucial.
JaNae Orton, a senior dental hygiene major from Salem, said immediately after receiving a syllabus, she writes down when assignments are due to stay ahead.
“If I don’t have a plan, I usually get overwhelmed with all that I have to do,” Orton said.
Jacobson is also among many who plan to study regularly as another semester resolution. Ashlyn Thomson, a freshman psychology major from Millville, said she usually prepares to study at least a week or two before a test.
“Cramming usually doesn’t work, and if you stay up too late, lack of sleep doesn’t help any when taking a test,” Thomson added.
Before the tests even begin, keep in contact with professors throughout the semester to also have a clear understanding of what is going on in class. Business adjunct instructor Jon Schmidt said students should spend time with their professors and talk with them after class.
However, Schmidt stated he wants to take some initiative to reach out to students who need extra help.
“I need to be more deliberate in my instructions because I’m coming to appreciate that even though I put together a very thorough syllabus, students don’t always pay attention to it,” Schmidt said.
Professors should spend more time regularly updating students about upcoming assignments, Schmidt said. At the same time, students need to break the idea that they can just get by doing the bare minimum, he said. Students need to understand what exactly their professor is looking for, specifically how they grade and what are considered their “hot buttons,” Schmidt added.
“Show up, be prepared and participate,” Schmidt said. “I think if you do that, you have already won a good part of the race.”
According to Colin Robertson’s 2015 article, “Why People Fail to Maintain Their Goals and What You Can Do Differently,” the hardest part begins when people first adjust their lifestyle and choices to achieve their set goal.
“Know your limits and know how many credits you can handle,” said Camden Bennett, a freshman exercise science major from Las Vegas.
Rather than hang out with friends and procrastinate, Bennett starts an assignment early so she knows what she is going to do.
With this mindset, professors are able to answer any questions or concerns students may have in a timely manner. However, there are times when Bennett is hesitant to seek help, she said.
“If I have a question, the only time I won’t ask is if I feel like the professor answered it when I wasn’t paying attention, or if I think it’s a dumb question,” Bennett said.
Despite this fear, if she does not feel confident about completing an assignment, Bennett said she will initially consult her peers.
“Just ask because it’s better to know than to not,” Bennett added.
Schmidt said aside from short-term semester goals, students should also start thinking about future career goals.
“What students need to do as early in their college careers as possible is to start developing a network, and those networks can start with professors,” Schmidt said.
Over the years, he has had various students contact him for letters of recommendation for potential job opportunities.
“The world isn’t getting easier, and what that means is there are more people in competition with you,” Schmidt said.
To balance school and a social life, some students plan activities they enjoy to keep their motivation high.
Orton said she sometimes sets rewards for herself as she checks off each task on her calendar.
“If I get this assignment done or if I get this grade on a test then I can go to a movie, go to dinner or plan a trip for the end of the semester,” Orton said.
To avoid getting burned out from school, make sure to take time for yourself and have fun, Jacobson said. In her spare time, Jacobson attends school sporting events, travels and spends time with her friends.
“I took 18 credits last semester and worked part time,” Jacobson said. “Sometimes you just have to put in a little hard work, and it will pay off.”