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!
DePaul kind of fell into my lap. As a kid growing up in the outskirts of Chicago, the bustling city was always intriguing to me. I spent many middle school nights taking the Metra
inbound to Union Station
to catch some terrible pop punk shows. After 4 years of typical high school angst, my plan for college was to get out of the Midwest and travel far away just to experience something other than flat land and indecisive weather. After looking around at different college fairs, I applied to several Arizona Universities.
Soon after the fair I visited DePaul on a tour that I felt like my mom was more excited for than I was. It was a cold day and I had the attitude that I had already seen all Chicago has to offer. BOY, I WAS WRONG. DePaul blew me away with the campus grounds that even looked decent on a muggy, cloudy day. I applied with high hopes and felt that even if I didn’t know what major I wanted to declare, I knew that I wanted to figure it out here. Having 2 academic years at DePaul under my belt has given me enough to process why, in fact, I choose this school when I was so dead set on getting out of the Midwest.
I honestly believe that it all comes back to DePaul’s reputation for being a part of a service driven community and using Chicago as a second classroom. The potential idea of being stuck at a campus ONLY surrounded by my peers made me feel so trapped…. but a campus surrounded by a large city?! That I can handle. The location was definitely a huge plus. And with a large city comes many opportunities for internships and volunteer work!
Besides the fact that I was awarded scholarship
money from DePaul, I mainly based my decision on the fact that I believe that Chicago will provide me with all the tools I need to succeed in whatever I choose to do. It is a plus that I am so close to home but I rarely visit unless it is a holiday. I am happy to say that, although DePaul isn't the cheapest option, it is the best investment that I am making towards my future.