Making the best of your semester
Do’s don’ts of having a good experience at Parkland
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 13:08
Are you new to the whole college experience? If so, you'll find plenty of helpful tips below, anywhere from scheduling classes, to finding the best parking spots, and much more. Not only will you find great tips, but you'll also read about helpful resources located right on campus.
Some easy ways to start off a great semester, whether it is your first or fifteenth, is to get organized, which can be difficult at times. A good place to start is to get to know the campus. This can easily be done by finding where your classrooms are located. Explore a little bit to find the best route there, and figure out where to park. If you don't get to class early or at least on time, don't expect a good parking spot.
After that, it would be a good idea to learn your professor's office hours and stop by to introduce yourself. Getting to know your instructors is a good idea, especially if you may need to ask for a letter of recommendation later on down the road. Your professor won't be able to speak highly of you if you don't have a good relationship with them. Also, your professor is the most valuable tool when you are struggling with a class. By taking the extra step and meeting with your instructors outside of class, you could develop a bond that can help you out down the road.
Next, be sure to get all of your books and supplies. The Parkland Bookstore has a good selection of items you will need, most importantly your books. To find out what supplies you will need for each class, you can select your class at the Bookstore website or log onto your student account at my.parkland.edu. From the home page, you can click on Academic Profile, which will open a sub menu where you can click my class schedule, select your semester, and it will display your class schedule. You can click on the classes to see what books are recommended. If you haven't already gotten your books, it is a good idea to do it before the supplies deplete. Also, do not unwrap your books until you have gone to class and made sure that you have the correct books.
Once classes start, you can determine whether or not you want to continue taking specific classes. If you decide that a class just is not for you, visit the admissions counter and drop your classes. The first week of class is when you can receive a full refund for dropping a class, and it does not go on your permanent record, nor does it affect your GPA. The last day you can receive a full refund is August 28 by 8 pm. If you wait until the second week, then you will only be able to receive a fifty percent refund, but again, the class is still off your record. The last day to get a fifty percent refund is September 4. By the third week, dropping a class is referred to as a withdrawal, which will be put on your record as a W for withdrawal and you will not receive a refund. It is not uncommon for students to have a few W's on their record, but you don't want more than just a few. Remember, it is okay to drop a class, especially if you do not think you can handle it or it is too difficult, because in truth, it may not get any easier or better. Also, if you are not doing very well in your class at mid-term, it is important to speak to your instructor and see if withdrawing from the class could be the best option.
If you didn't notice, in wings B, C, L, M, and X, there are lockers. These can be helpful to store books and other items in to prevent your book bag from getting too heavy or from personal items such as an iPod, laptop, or other device from getting misplaced or stolen. They are available for both daily and semester use. For more information, visit Student Life, at X153.
Now that you have an idea of where you're going, get yourself personally organized. Get into a routine to help you stay organized for the rest of the semester. Try getting a small pocket calendar or agenda book to help keep track of your assignment due dates and other things.
"Some students create a packed schedule with too much to do, and you only have twenty four hours in a day. If you have to, break your calendar down by minutes," explained Wellness Coordinator, June Burch. "If need be, work backwards. If you have something to do at three o'clock, see what you can get done by two, or one, to make your task at three easier and quicker to accomplish. But don't just use it for school, use it all the time and write down everything, even if it is just grocery shopping."
The Wellness Center is a great resource for students new and old. Located on the second floor near the library in X240, they can help with more than just physical health. Please take note that it is not a healthcare center. If you find you're having trouble dealing with the transition to college, problems with a relationship, emotional health issues, or even trying to find medical care, the Wellness Center can help.
Anyone that might need help dealing with their emotional health, inner self, or any concern is invited to stop by. Remember, the Wellness Center can with many different issues that occur in your life, not just physical problems. "We are here to help you find your way to a happier and healthier you, and not just a physical health, but all around health," noted Burch. Also, you can schedule personal counseling appointments with the counseling and advising center. Mental and emotional health can be a huge factor in a student's college success.
In addition, the Career Center is a great place to check out for not only student employment at Parkland, but help with improving your chances of employment. To apply for student employment, you can find an application from the Career Center, in room A175. Be sure to ask how it works and for help if necessary. They can also help you choose and decide on a major and what you want to do with your life, write resumes and letters, prepare for interviews, and find a job. The Career Center is a great resource that can help you down the road.