Success Strategies; Lessons Learned from Majoring in Angst

Paper due tomorrow, but not yet started? Let’s face it, the “dog ate my homework” excuse doesn’t really fly anymore, especially with online homework.

We’ve all had those moments where life really did get in the way, but with a little pre-planning, you can stay motivated and afloat in class. Falling behind can be incredibly de-motivating so we’ve compiled some tips so you don’t have to reach for that antiacid.

Know your end game. Why are you going to school in the first place? Is it to fulfill your dream of being a crocodile wrangler, to pick up a skillset or to acquire a job that will provide better safety and security for your family? Understanding your motivation for going to school can help you stay focused on your goal. Take a moment to visualize this goal and what it means to you anytime you feel like you are having trouble.

Own it. You won’t have a teacher doing a cop-walk around the classroom while you take a test or your mom telling you to do your homework. Your teacher and your classmates are not responsible for your learning - you are. So devise a strategy that will help you do your best. Create a routine that sets aside scheduled portions of each day for class and homework around your other commitments, and stick to it. Setting realistic goals for each week can also create a sense of accomplishment as you cross off each task. Don’t forget to reward yourself with scheduled breaks (dinner out with a friend or that hike you’ve been wanting to try) or favorite weekend activities for a job well done.

Think outside of the box. Boxes are for packing or hiding things under the bed, but they don’t have to be for your assignments. Drawing from your life experiences or interests can make that boring assignment more relevant. Think of other ways to meet the criteria that may be more fun for you - remember a presentation doesn’t have to be a PowerPoint, unless specified.

Some of the best lessons were learned in kindergarten. No, I am not telling you to find someone to hold hands with, but your online classmates can be great resources when you’re stuck, don’t understand an assignment, need people to bounce ideas off, or would like a peer review. If you find a buddy who has strength in one area, while you have strength in another, you can trade help in those areas.

Know thyself and thy resources. Knowing your weaknesses and resources can prevent an awkward PEBCAK (Problem exists between chair and keyboard) situation. If you are weak in a subject area, don’t expect osmosis to work the night before. Allow yourself extra time to work with a study group or complete assignments in that subject. Likewise, if your weakness is paper writing, don’t expect inspiration to hit and magically move your fingers across that keyboard the night before. Plan to create a draft ahead of time and use university resources to create a better product.

Remember, the success is within you. Stay successful, my friends!

Written by Maggie Wells, a Senior Instructional Designer at ASU Online

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