Winter break is over, the new year has started and your spring semester is about to start or has already. Last semester was the first semester of my Masters program that I was allowed to take a full semester worth of classes. My first semester I was only allowed to take two courses since the one course was considered highly intensive and isn’t recommended to take with anything else and I’m glad that was the case! Since my past fall semester was my first real semester as a graduate student, I have to say I learned quite a bit. I thought that I had it all figured out from undergrad but that was not the case by any means. Let me share what I learned from last semester and how you can use what I learned to be successful.
Syllabi Are Key
This I did already know but the lesson I learned was that even though I transcribed my syllabi onto a master sheet, it’s still important to keep them at hand. There were a few things that I missed because they weren’t transcribed or they didn’t fit into my assignment sheet. I have an online course so things are additionally under the assignment list there but I did catch a few instances where there were conflicting due dates and assignment expectations.
I hate participating in class because I like to listen to what everyone has to say and I feel like I never have anything of value to say. Which is totally not true, but I don’t think I know enough or what I have to say makes sense. The problem with this is that in my online course, participation really matters and is a major part of your end of the semester grade. What I’ve done to make myself more comfortable with participating, is developing questions or thoughts regarding parts of the readings and lectures. This way I can prepare ahead and not feel pressured to just say anything to participate.
Every Point Matters
So on occasion things got a little crowded in my schedule and I was behind on assignments. I ended up submitting one or two assignments in late and I really regretted it! I had an A on one paper and because I lost points because of lateness it ended up being a B+. I probably could have spoken to my professor about changing the due date but I thought that I’d be able to handle it but sometimes you can’t. Losing any point adds up and you’re cheating yourself out of the grade you deserve. Lesson learned the hard way.
Pencil over Highlighter
So this is a little bit of an odd thing I learned but making this little change helped me so much. While I was out and about I forgot my highlighter for my reading but I had a pencil. Well it turns out that I take better notes and I highlight much less and more with purpose with a pencil. I think with highlighters I feel the need to highlight everything that seems important but with pencil it makes me take a step back. I also tend to write more in the margins of my books.
No Question is a Bad Question
My whole life I’ve been too embarrassed to ask certain questions because people have made fun of me and guess what in the end I either had to look up the answer myself, I never learned the answer or I’d find out the answer but someone who had the same question didn’t. I’m been so blessed with teachers who are also students and every single professor has prefaced the class saying “no question is a bad question” “don’t be afraid to ask anything, no matter how simple”. I have appreciated this so much because I finally learned that it is okay to ask things that you think you should know already or things that you need clarified. Your teachers are there to help you and if they have a problem or shame you for a question the problem isn’t you. You can only benefit from asking questions.
These were the few small things I learned last semester, what did you learn and what are you doing differently?