Second Semester, Second Chances

Marissa CorleoneConnection UpdatesLeave a Comment

You’ve barely taken a breath, and yet the second semester is already around the corner. Maybe you’re a concerned parent unsure of where to turn, or maybe you’re the struggling student. If you fit either of these descriptions, I imagine the thought of returning to school is causing quite a bit of stress. Luckily, we are here to provide our best tips to insure your second semester sails smoothly.

In this post, we will cover:

  • Recognizing Problem Areas
  • Preventive Habits
  • Additional Resources

Reflect

For the students:

The first step to improvement is always self-reflection. In order to avoid making the same mistakes, one must be able to identify them in the first place.

So take some time out of your day to sit down and really think about your last semester. What went wrong? What went well? What can be improved?

While the reasons for failure vary from person to person, this student self-evaluation sheet is a great place to get started.

What’s most important during this process is to be open and honest with yourself. Try to mentally prepare yourself to be in a judgement-free zone; this is not a time for beating yourself up, but rather, identifying your areas of improvement in a constructive way. By the end of this process, you should feel a little better about where you’re at and what your goals should look like for the following semester.

For the parents:

Parents, it is vital that you spend this time listening more than talking. This is an emotionally vulnerable process for your child, so it’s important to not be quick to jump on the “blame train.” Rather than pointing out their failures or assuming the causes behind your child’s struggles, gently offer your insight about why you think the last semester didn’t go well. Help them to uncover the source of the issues, and always be open to listening to what they have to say. There might always be more going on than you realize, and the root of the problem might not be as obvious as you think.

Organization

For the students:

One of the biggest fallacies that I encounter from my discussions with students is that they believe the biggest part of understanding is simply studying the material. In reality, organization and time management play an equally important role in educational success.

And organization is not only about the physical process of tidying your papers and filling out our planner. It’s mainly about being mentally organized. In all honesty, it doesn’t necessarily matter how you organize, so much as that it makes sense to you.

However, there are some tried and true tips and tricks to get you on the right track, until you perfect the system that works for you.

Pens, papers, & backpacks, oh my!

The number of times I’ve asked to look at a student’s assignment and in return received the crumpled up, torn remains of what was their homework is innumerable.

Binders and folders.

I cannot emphasize the value of these two items more. They are a safe-haven from the clutches of disorganization. However, simply owning these tools does nothing if they are not being utilized properly.

So how does one go about turning their binder from a cluttered mess to that of an organizational guru?

Well, the simple answer is that it depends.

In general, the less items you have to keep organized, the more likely you will succeed in keeping them so.

So think about your schedule: how many classes do you have? How many items (returned homework, notes, handouts, etc.) do you receive from your different courses?

If your paper load is light, I recommend sticking to a 1.5-2″ binder and using dividers to separate each class. Pockets with dividers are helpful for temporarily storing documents that aren’t pre-hole-punched.

However, using a binder for every two classes, or simply a binder for each class can work as well (you just might end up taking more trips to your locker than you’d like).

The organization does not stop there! Inside your classes divided section (or binder), I recommend further sectioning out your documents so that everything has it’s place. Generally, I recommend a returned work, notes, and handouts sections.

Be sure to label each of these sections and dividers as well! Not only is it visually appealing, but it helps speed up the process of organizing your materials, especially if you are on the go.

As for folders, I like to use these for homework and assignments. I recommend getting a polyfolder with pockets and labeling the left side “To Do” and the right side “Done.” As you recieve and complete assignments, place them in the correct slot until you turn them in. By dedicating a specific spot for both your completed and uncompleted homework, you reduce the risk of misplacing your assignments. Not only that, but it’s visually easy to tell how much work you have left “to do” and plan your time accordingly. You also don’t have to go rummaging to far when your teacher asks for your homework the next day.

Time to Make Time

For the parents:

Studying

For the students:

What’s your learning style?

For the parents:

Healthy Habits

For the students:

For the parents:

Utilizing Your Resources

For the students:

For the parents:

About the Author

Marissa Corleone

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