Although for many students, the beginning of spring semester is the middle of a school year, a brand new semester does bring new opportunities.
From interactions with instructors to classmates, beginning on a positive note can make a world of difference for students. Share these helpful hints with your students to help them start the semester right.
Making new connections
According to author Julia T. Wood in her text, Communication in Our Lives, Seventh Edition, socializing helps us to build the much-needed communication skills that we use every day. “We spend a great deal of time communicating. We talk, listen, have dialogues with ourselves, participate in group discussions, present oral reports, watch and listen to mass communication, and so forth. From birth to death, communication shapes our personal, professional, civic, and social lives as well as the culture in which we live.” (4)
Some students may struggle in this department more than others. For many, meeting new people is no easy feat. And for some, it’s extremely intimidating. The best places on college campus for meeting new connections are usually the class room, dorm room or a sports team. But don’t limit yourself.
Making a connection with a classmate can also be vital to your success in that course. Get to know a classmate or two in each of your classes so you have a contact for when you miss a class, need a study partner, or need help understanding an assignment or reading.
Meeting your instructors
It’s also a great idea to get to know each of your instructors a bit. This may occur naturally in a smaller classroom. Although, if you’re not one to speak often in class, you may want to take the time to meet with them during office hours or after class. You can introduce yourself, let them know what you hope to get out of the class or what your challenges are.
If it’s a large, lecture-style classroom, make sure to take a moment to introduce yourself to your instructor, or swing by their office hours early on in the semester. In a big classroom, oftentimes instructors are only able to get to know the few students that participate the most. Getting to know your instructors can also let you feel more comfortable reaching out to them for extra help when you need it.
Through your time at school, you will also meet dozens of instructors and advisors that can have a positive impact on your education and even career. When beginning new classes, good relationships with the teaching assistants and instructors not only make for great resources and potential college mentors, but they may also provide you with references when you apply to graduate schools, internships, and jobs.
Starting a new semester in an online class? Visit our post, “Tips for Online Students: Make it a Successful School Year!”
Reference: Wood, Julia T. 2015. Communication in Our Lives, 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.