With all of life’s uncertainties, here is:What I know for certain

Melissa Leach

Life throws us of curve balls every day. We are faced with new challenges and adventures, and we either make contact and get on base or we strike out and go back to the bench for more practice. In essence, we are faced with uncertainties. While our schedules are fairly regimented as college students, we are often confronted with experiences that make us think, “Wow, I didn’t expect that.” These occurances are what make life exciting and different. However, there are things in which we know for certain, things we know for sure we can take control over. That is, our willingness to work.

I know for sure that you can obtain your goal of getting good grades. The start of new semester lets us wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, set some new standards and get organized. You have the power to control the kinds of grades you get by the amount of work you are willing to put into the classes. Essentially you get out of it what you put into it.

Start smart. The first day of class everyone starts off with an A. The only thing you have to do is maintain it. Stop thinking that it is going to be impossible to get an A; you already have one! The only thing you have to do is keep it.

Every professor gives out a syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Do yourself a favor and read it. Your professors don’t give you syllabi for their benefit; they are for yours. You have the entire semester laid out in front of you, so utilize that information. Plan ahead. Mark down on your calendar what’s due and when. Don’t be that person in class who has that surprised, dumb look on their face when the professor announces that there is a research paper due next class.

Read. Do the assigned readings when they are assigned. There is nothing worse than having to read six or seven chapters of your textbook the night before a major exam.

If you read when you are supposed to, you can become a more active participant in class. This allows you to ask the questions that are unclear or that you feel are interesting and worthy of discussion. There is something to be said for someone who is active in class. When a grade is borderline, it’s the person that has made the effort to be an active member of the class that gets the A instead of the B+. Your voice can make a difference, so use it.

Make connections. Get to know your professors. Talk to them after class or stop by their offices. It never hurts to drop by your professor’s office to say hello and it definitely never hurts to go to him or her for assistance when you are having trouble in class.

When you take the time to get to know your professors they will take the time to get to know you. You never know when a professor may be able to help you get an internship or a job interview. You will be surprised at the diversity of professors’ expertise and the different areas of life in which they are involved.

Over the course of your time here, you will have had at least 35 different professors. That’s a lot of people; that know other people, who know other people and so on. If you get to know even half of them your chances are greater in excelling not only in the classroom but beyond the classroom. They will get you were you want to go.

So here we go — one week down, 15 to go. Are you going to slack off again and just get by? Or, are you going to make that extra effort and obtain the grades you know you are capable of?

It’s hit or miss. You can either go back to the bench and wait, or you can get on base and advance yourself and your future. It’s all up to you. I know for sure that you can. But are you sure you can? The challenge is waiting.

This column was inspired by O magazine’s column “What I know for sure.”