It is that time of year! Can you feel the excitement and anticipation of a new school year in the air? The promise of a fresh start and a clean slate is a beautiful thing.
This is a post that is intended for your Ole Miss student to read, take in, and follow. As a career educator, I have the inside scoop as a University of Mississippi instructor as to what your student needs to know and do to be a successful student. Below are my top 10 tips to share with your favorite student:
Go to class! Go to class! Go to class! I can not sing this song loud enough. Attending class highly effects academic performance. Even if there is not a class attendance policy, GO TO CLASS! Extreme absenteeism will put you behind and will make you feel like a lost puppy. College professors notice the students who put in the time and attend class. I am always more willing to work with a student who puts in the time and effort to attend class.
Don’t be a back-pew church goer! Be the student that is not afraid to sit at the front of the class. Get to class early on the first day of class to claim your seat up front. Students who sit at the front of the class tend to be more engaged and do not miss out on the presented material.
Find your “person”. Make friends with the people that you sit next to in class. Have each other’s backs and work as a team to take notes and prepare for assignments and exams. If your class friend is absent or you are absent, share notes and announcements with one another.
Be actively engaged in class. Even if you are bored to tears, you can pretend to be interested. It is no secret that students who are actively engaged tend to truly learn the material and earn better grades. If you only get one thing out of this top 10 list, get this- DO NOT TAKE A NAP IN CLASS! Really, this happens all the time and I am tempted to whip out a sharpie and draw on the face of a class snoozer.
Word to the wise- be tech savvy and tech appropriate. Most college professors welcome the use of laptops in class. They are a wonderful tool to use to take notes and to follow along presentations. However, they can be a distraction as well. And- I know that this is a hard one- don’t cruise around on social media, shop, or chat via messenger during class. You will miss vital information and get lost at the same time. Also, keep those cellular devices on silent and in your backpack unless there is an emergency. I promise that if you are staring at your crotch that your professor knows that you are texting during class. If there is an emergency and you have to return a text or phone call during class, step out momentarily to do so.
This is just common sense but worth the mention. Please be smart enough to not put in your earbuds when the professor is lecturing. Also, do not charge your Juul in the classroom. Yes, I have witnessed both of these faux pas.
Utilize your class Blackboard account often. Being that it is 2018, the majority of professors do use blackboard as a way to communicate information to students. Blackboard can be your best friend as it is here that you will find your course syllabus, class schedule, assignment directions, lecture materials, PowerPoints, grading rubrics, grades, and much more. Blackboard has a feature for professors to use that allow us to view when students sign in to their Blackboard account and what information is viewed. Be smart. Professors know what students do not use their blackboard accounts, and needless to say these students tend to perform poorly with their coursework. Blackboard can also be a good tool for parents to learn about how your investment, I mean student, is doing in college. But remember, students have to give parents log-in information. There is not an automatic parent access.
You might be wondering what advice we have about studying and preparing for class assignments. I always tell my students to take good notes, as oftentimes it is easier to commit information to memory if we actually take notes by hands and re-write our notes. I also suggest in creating good old-fashioned note cards and flash cards. See, technology is not always the answer! Also, plagiarism is taken very seriously at Ole Miss. Your professors do not want to see you expelled from school, so remember to turn in your own work and you should be good to go.
Please do not come to class smelling like you slept at the bar. Enough said about that!
Last, but not least, remember that your professors are humans too. We make mistakes. If you have a question or do not understand a concept, hang around after class to chat with your professor or schedule a time to meet with them during their office hours. It is our job to assist you as a student. Be respectful and kind to your professors- do not talk over them while they are lecturing and remember to follow the hierarchy and chain of command. If you have a grievance, meet with your professor and calmly present your issue. If the grievance is not handled to your liking, then schedule a meeting with the department chairman. For instance, we would never call your parents if there was an issue with you as a student (and this breaks student confidentiality), so please have the respect to go directly to your professor if there is a problem. If you are sick, having surgery, have a death in the family, or have a legitimate reason to miss class, let your professor know. Communication is KEY! If you see your professor out and about in the Grove or out having dinner, don’t stare at them as if they are a six-eyed alien. Speak to them and move on. I can assure you that we do not want to do shots at the bar with you and your buds.