Planning for Success
Post by Cait Boyce
When I was a freshman, new to the world of lecture-style classes and 100-page reading assignments, I realized that I was going to have to rethink my battle plan to succeed in college. Compared to high school, it’s a whole other animal. I guess I never believed anyone else telling me, “As long as you work hard, you’ll do fine!” I think my mind just didn’t listen to the part that said, “as long as you work hard.” I just assumed I’d be fine. How wrong I was.
Finally, I sat down at my wooden desk in my small dorm room and pulled out paper, markers, scissors, and tape. I took an entire sheet of paper and scribbled on it, “CAIT’S PLAN FOR SUCCESS.” I then wrote the names of all my classes and professors on pieces of paper, and cut them into circles. After that, I started listing specific things I could do for each class to ensure success. For my geology class, I had a list that looked like this:
- Go to class!!!
- Read the chapters we’re covering in class – BEFORE class!
- Go see the lab instructor for help each week
The reason I had this list is because each of my classes were different and each of my professors had different expectations. Geology, for example, was a huge class, and the professor was too intimidating for me to talk to, but the lab instructor was really nice, so I decided to get help from her instead. The professor also didn’t assign readings, but he did have a required textbook, so I went through and figured out which chapters I could read to prepare for the lectures.
My “Plan for Success” was different for each class. My ancient literature class required a lot of writing, and being a procrastinator, I knew I would struggle to get the essays done on time. I set myself an over-arching rule that I have used ever since then for all my classes: “Never, ever, ever do a big assignment the night before it’s due.” What that rule meant to me was that I could not start a big essay or project the night before it was due NO MATTER WHAT; so even if I hadn’t started it by then, I couldn’t start it the last night. If I wanted to turn it in at all, I’d have to get it done earlier. Following that rule has helped me cut down on stress drastically in college.
I finished CAIT’S PLAN FOR SUCCESS and taped it to my dorm room wall. It looked like this:
Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail?” That’s how it works in college. You might have a few classes that you can slide through, but for the most part, you will not succeed on accident. College can be a stressful time, but having a “Plan for Success” can help you through it!