February 2, 2012

Spring Roadmap

As the spring semester begins, some of you may be celebrating a job well done in the fall semester. Others of you may still be looking around for the truck that hit you. You know where you started and you know that your destination = graduation, but the journey between point A and point B can be unpredictable. It’s time to stop, check your map, and think about what lies ahead for this semester. What signs will you face on the journey through your second semester?

Is college going as you planned? Do you need to make changes to accomplish your goals? Are you balancing your academics and extracurriculars or is one getting more attention?  Be purposeful in your planning.  Remember that specific goals will then inspire more immediate goals that will, in turn, direct your immediate actions.  Example: I want to earn a 3.2 term GPA this semester à I want to earn a B in Expository Writing à I will add  the Writing Center as soon as possible and will visit my Expos instructor’s office hours twice a month to discuss my work and progress.

What improvements can you implement for this semester? Tutoring? Academic Coaching? (http://lrc.rutgers.edu/) Going to professors’ office hours?   Be flexible in making changes as you get more information through the semester. Your midterm grade should NOT be the first/only indication of your progress in a class.

Are you doing risky things? Taking too many credits? Procrastinating your studying? If you’re finding it hard to get motivated and do the things you know you should be doing, consider seeing a Counselor on campus to talk (http://rhscaps.rutgers.edu/services/counseling)

First year students need to do some exploring about majors/minors and can do so by taking classes in different areas.  By the end of this semester, you should have some ideas about possible majors, but you needn’t be certain yet – enjoy the scenery and exploration of these first few semesters. Consider using some of the Career Assessments on the Career Services website (http://careerservices.rutgers.edu/) to focus on your major interests and options.

Are you getting what you need to continue your journey? Have you found at least one Rutgers grown-up (staff or faculty) who knows your name and face? Someone who has been helpful to you when you encountered a problem or confusion?  Plan to cultivate your network of resources and add one personal connection per semester. You can start by seeing an SAS academic adviser to discuss your goals and plans.