University of Michigan Campus

It’s almost the first day of school and no matter where you are at this point in your career, it’s a new beginning. The “back-to-school” stress starts to make its mark on you and continues to grow outside of you overwhelmingly. But, don’t fret! Here is a compiled list of 10 ways to succeed at University of Michigan.

1. Reach Out

With over 40,000 students at University of Michigan, the idea of “standing out” can be intimidating. For some, when challenges come running towards them, it could be a bit embarrassing because they have the notion that others can solve this physics problem except for them. But, you have to know that “it’s ok to be not ok.” The phrase might be extremely cliche, but almost no one actually thinks that way. The advantage of a massive school is that the resources are abundant. There are professors, tutors, GSI’s, and other students, who are everywhere in the buildings, so it’s quite difficult to miss them. When there is a problem, reach out to these resources and understand that you don’t have to be struggling so much by yourself.

2. Set Your Priorities

Going out to a frat party on Saturday, hanging out with your friends on Sunday, then you remember that a paper is due in your psychology class and you have an exam in your Calculus 3 class. You came back with your friends actually on Monday at one in the morning and just realized that you still have schoolwork. You never want to get yourself into that position at University of Michigan. Set your priorities straight, know what you have to get done every day — do not be a master procrastinator. As a student, your job is to do well in school, and you have to realize that nothing else can top that. For the party lovers, I can promise you that when you know your priorities, there will be countless hours of entertainment awaiting you.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Your mom is not giving you her homemade chicken soup when you are sick now or there will be no one controlling every actions you do. So, learn to be independent and take care of yourself. Be with people that care about you and know your limits. Yes, there is an unlimited dining option, but eat a healthy diet and stay strong. Be cautious of what you are doing and take part in actions that are best for you. There is nothing more important that keeping your body well-cared and rested for the upcoming and rigorous academic tasks.

4. Don’t Wait for Opportunities

…because it doesn’t work. Hard work and actions create new opportunities. The graduate school you want to attend, the company you want to work in, the research you want to take part in are places you will be able to achieve if you have taken the fundamental steps to get there. We can represent opportunities as life and to get that life you have always wanted, the learning, the studying, the reviewing, the sweat are all necessities you have to pass. Take the challenge, push yourself, focus on short-term goals and some surprising opportunities will be heading your way.

5. Show Up to Class

Being successful means to be present. The professors at University of Michigan are there in the specific times and in the specific classrooms to teach, prepare, and guide students. Attendance is extremely important in any class, so don’t think you can get away with anything even if you’re in a classroom with 600+ students. Your class attendance will leave a mark on your professor and you will be rewarded with a massive amount of support from them. The classroom is the most efficient time to clear up any mistakes and set a strong foundation for future classes and your career. So, participate in class and be willing to open your eyes to new knowledge.

6. Show Respect and Be Cooperative

You are in a large school and people are all around you. It is a natural thing to start a conversation with someone or work on a project with a group of people. Being able to get the help you need or make new friends all start with respect and being cooperative. You have to understand that being polite and putting your thoughts with the people around you allows you to be more attractive to others. More people would like to work with you and follow you and be friends with you because of how you treated others. This kind of attitude is extremely critical as you step up every year and enter into the workforce. We all come from different backgrounds and ways we view the world, so it is important to recognize and take that into account when conversing with others.

7. Work On Your Weaknesses

Yes, I know people stay away from self-reflecting because it lowers their self-esteem. Now, they finally realize that they have way too many things they’re not good at. However, actually knowing your weaknesses is already a huge leap into your ladder of success. Knowing what you lack builds you up a little higher. Don’t stop there. Take the time now to work on them, practice fixing them, put them into your daily context, and revive their strength. Do not be afraid of the work it takes to achieve this and if this is not an issue, don’t stop. You are young and adapting to independence, so be patient with yourself.

8. Minimize Multitasking

As an adolescent, it is challenging — maybe impossible — to get your eyes off electronic devices and other kinds of distractions. But, remember that as a student, school tops everything. If you write in your planner that two pages of your English paper need to be finished in the afternoon, stick to that task and do not wander from it. Humans do have their own special power of multitasking, but the quality of the work being done is usually lower than getting one task done at a time. Do what you have to do to minimize distractions — turn off your phone, put yourself in a quiet study room. It will be quite relieving to find out that this paper does not have to be done the night before it is due.

9. Choose Professors, Not Classes

During orientation, we all went through those times of picking classes in Wolverine Access, throwing them into our “backpack,” and validating any time conflicts. The classes we chose were part of our major requirements and the prerequisites had to be taken first before anything else. However, you don’t have to be following that model every semester . Choose the best professors, the one your friend has been telling you to take for months or an adviser recommended for you or the one that has truly inspired you. Even if this professor does not teach the course required for your major, use the chance in your four years of college to take that class. Although the class does cost you money, the experience is priceless. Do not waste the BEST FOUR YEARS at University of Michigan on a poorly-designed class or a dry professor.

10. Study; Don’t “Study”

In other words, learn how to study. At a school with an excellent academic reputation, it is hard for professors to not challenge their students more and more every year. To get ahead of the game, learn how to study efficiently and thoroughly. Everyone has 24 hours, so it is your job to balance everything out. Your study does not consist of copying your friend’s lecture notes, going over your notes in a study-group, re-listening to the professor’s lectures. Your study should be a quiet block of time for yourself. You are the one taking the exams and you are the one doing the homework. Take the time for yourself to recollect everything and do extra problems. Maybe, you have to find more practice exams online, or do more textbook problems. Whatever works for you, the time you set for yourself to study should be in a quiet space with little to no distraction.

Focus your attention to what is best for you to succeed. You know yourself better than anyone else does.

Good luck to everyone this year! Stay strong and Go Blue!

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