Whether this is your first semester at Florida State University or you have graduation in sight, back to school is an exciting time. Even if you are an “old pro” when it comes to being a college student, the start of every semester can still feel exciting and even overwhelming at times. But fear not! We’ve put together some tips on how to make your back to school transition go smoothly.
Tips for Undergraduate Students
If this is your first semester at FSU, take a moment and walk around campus when you have some time. Even if you’ve been here for years, you will be surprised at how much you might discover just a few steps away from your usual stomping grounds. Perhaps you’ll stumble across a student organization tabling that day or maybe a new study spot. If nothing else, a walk around campus will really make you fall in love with how beautiful FSU is.
Meet Your Classmates
A great idea during your first few classes is to talk to your fellow classmates. Not only is this a great way to meet people interested in the same things you are, it can also help you out when it comes time to study for tests. A friend in class can also share notes if you ever miss a class.
Organize Before AND After Class
Chances are you already prepare before your classes. You check and see which books you need to bring, what reading you should have completed, and what assignments you should have finished. However, it’s just as important to prepare when class is over. Organize the notes you took in class, remind yourself of important due dates, and think about ongoing projects.
Balance Your Social Life
For many students, college is a social experience, and without a doubt, making new friends and experiencing new things should be a key part of your time at FSU. However, make sure that your social life does not interfere with your school work. Staying on top of assignments early in the semester will help you feel confident and prepared as the semester rolls on. Have fun, make friends, and enjoy your time on campus, but also make sure you carve out enough time to finish your work.
Tips for Graduate Students
The number one tip every graduate student hears probably has something to do with time management, and we’re not going to buck that trend! Graduate school throws a lot of information at you and often very quickly. Right when you receive your syllabi from your various classes, put everything on your calendar. Doing so will keep you aware of approaching due dates and help you stay on top of long-term projects.
Talk to Professors
Grad school means many things to many people, but one thing is for certain: being a graduate student puts you in direct contact with experts in your field. Talking to professors and asking questions is a great way to learn more about your area of study and may even open up opportunities. Showing a professor that you’re passionate and motivated can really improve your grad school experience.
As we mentioned, graduate courses involve a lot of information. Some of your study habits from your undergraduate experience will serve you well while others may not translate as well to the demands of grad school. However, one thing you want to master is the art of note taking. Highlighting every piece of information in your reading might seem helpful now, but when you review your notes, you might be overwhelmed at all of these notes. A great study method is to write a few bullet points at the end of a chapter that gives you a summary of what you just read.
Build Your Professional Network
Christine Mokher, associate professor of Higher Education at FSU, suggests expanding your network beyond your current classes. “Take advantage of opportunities to connect with faculty outside of your program, attend presentations and professional conferences, and talk with people working in your field of interest to begin building your professional network,” Mokher says. “It’s also important to develop relationships with other students in your cohort because they will be a great resource for finding opportunities for career advancement and collaboration after you graduate.”
To our returning graduate and undergraduate students and alumni, we want to know some of your tips for coming back to school. Let us know on Twitter by tweeting @fsueducation with the hashtag #FSUBacktoSchool and pass on some of your best advice to the next generation of students.