By Caitlin Giddens
Your intentions are pure. You’ve turned to the first chapter of your textbook while classical music plays softly in the background. You’ve canceled all your plans for the night and a lineup of energy drinks sits beside your computer.
But despite your best efforts, studying for the upcoming test seems impossible. The textbook before you holds hundreds of pages. How could you possibly consume all this information?
The department of multicultural affairs sought to answer this question at the “Tips of the Trade” discussion on Wednesday night. Baylor’s Indian Subcontinent Student Association, Association of Black Students and Hispanic Student Association partnered with the department to host the event in Kayser Auditorium.
“We know our students don’t always take advantage of all the resources on campus,” said Paige Jackson, graduate apprentice for the department of multicultural affairs. “We wanted this discussion to be another resource for students to use to be successful.”
Four students, ranging from sophomore to senior, answered questions about time management and effective studying. In the beginning, the discussion was catered to freshmen struggling with the adjustment to college.
“The difference between college and high school is that your parents aren’t there to make you do your work,” Carrollton sophomore Celeste Russell said.
“And there’s so many events here you can attend, you have to learn to say no.”
But Houston junior Daphne McGee insists maintaining an active social life is an important aspect of the college experience.
“Our social life is part of our wellness,” McGee said. “You can’t say you’re only at Baylor for school, and then only focus on classes. There are many parts to each person, including the physical, academic and emotional. The balance of those parts is when wellness is achieved.”
Overall wellness may be easier to maintain in the beginning of the semester than later, when a storm of tests and projects hits most students.
“It’s good to get organized in the beginning of the semester,” Eagle Pass junior Mario Longoria said. “Once everything gets going, you may not have time to get organized. But if you get organized and treat your body well, then your mind and body will be there when you need them later.”
Despite the popularity of all-night cram sessions among college students, the panel agreed treating your body well includes sleeping regularly.
“My sleep is the one constant thing in my life,” McGee said. “I know how much sleep I need, so I base my time management on that amount of time.”
In addition to time management, learning the most personally effective study habits is important.
“For me, studying in groups hasn’t ever been that effective,” McGee said.
“You have to explore when the best time to study is for you. Even though students like sleeping in, your brain may be fresher in the morning. Learn to study smarter, not harder.”
If exploring different study strategies doesn’t bring success, then students are advised to visit the Paul L. Foster Success Center, located in Sid Richardson Science Building, Russell said.
“They make a study schedule for you based on your class schedule,” Russell said. “And then they check in with you and make sure you’re staying on schedule. I went to the success center during my first semester, and they really helped me make the transition from high school to college.”
The panel of students agreed the first steps on the road to academic success are the most crucial. Students are encouraged to visit their professors in the beginning of each semester to establish an academic relationship that could provide valuable references upon graduation.
“Don’t wait until the last minute to go in and see your professor,” Cleveland, Tenn., senior Neha Patel said.
“This may give him a negative perspective of you. Let him know early in the semester that you care about the class.”
As most students realize, academic success is not easily attained, but Baylor provides multiple resources, from tutoring to counseling, to facilitate students’ success.
“The biggest downfall for most students is not having enough strategies to pull from when it comes to studying,” Jackson said. “It is important to have more than one strategy, and to realize there’s so many resources and you’re not alone at Baylor.”