Letters from Lambda: Getting Organized

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Plato once said, “the beginning is the most important part of the work.”

We are all familiar with beginnings. In fact, we are in the midst of one right now. For many students, there are many beginnings to face as we dive into another fall semester at Slippery Rock University. This article is a beginning itself, launching a new collaborative series between Lambda Pi Eta, The Rocket and WSRU-TV.

Each week, you will see a new “Letter from Lambda” here in the campus life section and adapted for TV, written to provide insight on healthy habits for success at school from the successful students in the communication department’s honor society.

This week, the topic is getting organized at the start of the semester. With move-in, classes and club meetings filling to do lists and planners, it is important to stay on track to set yourself up for success.

First, if you have it, give yourself the time to settle in and unpack. Setting up your dorm room or apartment the way that you like and that functions best for you can help create a space that is organized and conducive to studying and completing work. Try hanging a whiteboard calendar and getting multicolored markers to make note of important events and deadlines.

Settling in also includes getting to know your way around campus. Visit classroom buildings, the ARC, the health center, the student center, campus dining and any other buildings you will need to find later. Find out where to pick up care packages and which offices to contact for questions about financial aid or your living space. This will not only save you time, but also help you feel more comfortable.

Next, create a support network. It is important to build and maintain friendships and work relationships with those around you. Ask for help whenever you are unsure or having trouble. Ignoring others and overloading oneself with responsibilities can make the semester unnecessarily stressful. Check your professors’ office hours and make time for your friends to ensure you have support.

Preparedness is key for succeeding in class. Make sure you have all necessary materials, most of which are available at Dollar Tree, within the first week. Putting off getting something for class will only set you back. If there are issues getting the required textbook, talk to your professor and see what you can do in the meantime.

The all-important planner is one of these essential materials. Take it to every class and meeting and write down everything you have to do outside of that meeting time. Keep it organized and your notes clear to avoid confusion later. As soon as you know of a meeting or event, write it down. Having a small notepad or sticky notes is also beneficial if you like to write down your lists and reminders.

Using the calendar, list and memo functions that are available on most phones is also a good habit to develop if that is what you prefer. Set reminders and due dates with alarms early enough to give you ample time to do your work. Simply putting a reminder for the due date at 11:59 p.m. might be cutting it too close.

While on your phone, check your email. This cannot be stressed enough. Check your email in the morning, after class and in the evening. Check it while you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Download the Outlook app or set up your default email app and turn on notifications. Utilize this tool to communicate with professors, classmates and club colleagues. If you are not staying connected and communicating, you are more likely to miss events, opportunities, updates and deadlines. Seriously, please check your email.

Finally, commit yourself to a budget. Map out expenses like textbooks, rent, groceries, school supplies and subscriptions and determine what you can afford to spend. Whether you want to work during the semester can be determined by answering two questions: Can you afford to go without working and can you handle the additional workload in your schedule? If you do anticipate needing work, then apply as soon as you have the chance.

These are just a few small habits to prepare yourself for success this semester. Similar topics will be further explained in the letters to come. Until then, Lambda welcomes you to another exciting fall semester at SRU and wishes you a successful start to the school year.

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