Before I began my first day of junior year I tried to remind myself that academia goes more smoothly when paired with a positive learning environment.
Having a solid relationship with professors and peers is a good place to start! I have never been one to instantly introduce myself personally to my professor on the first day of school, but I do try to make it a point to raise my hand at least once during the first week. Honestly, I’ve noticed this makes me a lot more likely to contribute to class discussion later on in the quarter. By making an active attempt to interact with your professors and peers, this creates an environment that feels safe to ask questions in. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel apprehensive to ask certain questions in class because I think they might be silly or unnecessary, but more often than not someone else in the class has the same question. I believe that if you try to create relationships with your professors and peers it will make for a comfortable and fun learning environment that could last until graduation day. You never know when you will need those teacher recommendations.
Finding a comfortable place to study is also crucial for creating a positive learning environment. The most obvious choice on campus is the library with its beautiful stained glass on the third floor and easy access to printers, but I have friends that can’t concentrate in complete silence. If that sounds like you definitely check out Brownstones in the Student Center or the Pit area in the SAC. They both provide comfortable seating, printers, and glorious glorious coffee. Ain’t nothing like some good ambience to get you in the mood to crank out some essays.
Also, keep in mind that a positive learning environment is not necessarily the physical place you are in, but could also include the mindset you have in your noggin. Creating attainable and realistic expectations while studying is crucial for avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed. Laying down the ground rules for yourself and how far you can push your brain is quintessential to your victory as a student. For example, give yourself a time limit on how long you will look over a particular subject or take a break from revising an essay when you feel the words starting to blend together. Sadly, we are not machines that can work days on end, but it is amazing how far we can push ourselves with a positive mindset and a little bit of scheduling.
Good luck this quarter, y’all!