You did it! You completed your first college semester. We began this work together on a hot August day, and now we end on the day of the year’s first snowstorm. You all hung in there and worked hard. You are on the verge of being able to take a few weeks away from thinking about classes. As you are first semester students, you may be wondering… what next? Here are a few answers to questions first semester students often ask me on the last day of class:
When will I get my course grade?
I’ll grade work for all of my classes in the upcoming week. You will see your assignment grades in My Grades. After I have graded assignments, I will tabulate final grades. Course grades are due from all instructors on or before Dec. 27. I will email the class when I have posted the grades, which you should see on CUNYfirst. You also have grades for individual assignments on Blackboard in My Grades.
How will you tabulate the course grade?
I have provided this information throughout the semester, but if you are just thinking of this now, it means you are a totally normal first semester student! For this reason, I’m providing links to the earlier posts and materials:
On the first To_Do List, you received course syllabus as an FAQ list. See the question about grades:
You also received a reminder of this information in November:
Here also is the grading breakdown from that same syllabus provided at the beginning of the semester and all above materials:
- Unit 1 Assignment, Educational Narrative: 10%
- Unit 2 Assignment, Annotated Bibliography: 20%
- Unit 3 Assignment, Exploring a New Genre: 20%
- Final Portfolio Reflection: (forthcoming during finals week) 10%
- Homework/Participation Activities: 40%
As you continue on in your college career, it will make more sense to you why all of that dense information you get at the beginning of the semester on the syllabus is important. Everything adds up over the course of a semester and becomes that grade on your transcript.
Credit/No Credit Option
You all have received information from the school on this policy. Here is a link to the school page with information. I highly advise you to read through the whole page if you are considering this option:
According to this website as of Dec. 17, 2020:
- You can “opt-in” beginning Dec. 23.
- The last day to choose this option is January 13.
This is a new policy. Please keep double-checking dates and other information on the registrar’s page.
Can I email you?
Of course! You can always email me: email@example.com
When should I register for spring 2021 classes? What comes after this?
Register as soon as you can! You have to register yourself, but you should contact your advisor for help. Go onto “DegreeWorks” on CUNY for your degree audit. ENG 1121 is the next level of English Composition. You should also consider Creative Writing classes to meet your Creative Expression requirements either this semester or the following semester! I teach this course often and would like to see any of you there.
Just a tip, many students start their World Languages requirement their second semester of college because you have to complete three consecutive semesters of World Languages.
Information on DegreeWorks is on the bottom of this page:
Information on Schedule Builder, a helpful digital tool, is here:
Information for Financial Aid is here. Again, the contact information is near the bottom. Scroll down if you need it:
How can I keep improving my writing over the break?
I’m always impressed by students who ask this. The simple answer is: read.
- Activate your student New York Times subscription and read every day. Find a section you like. Read the sports section. The news section. The movie section. The business and investing section. Read about city politics. Read about national and world politics. Read about education or health and wellness. All of these categories have their own section. Read what interests you every day for a while. Consistency is key to reading with the goal of becoming a better writer.
- Try not to get lost in visual media (video games, TV, movies, etc.). While these forms have their merits, to improve writing you need to read and think about the written word.
- Read novels. Read magazines. Keep reading about your research topic.
- If you know the textbooks or materials your courses are using in Spring 2021, start reading them. Good students often do this.
Keep a journal! Here a couple of resources for journaling. There are many out there:
- “Here are the 50 Best Journaling Prompts You Will Ever Read or Need” from the Thought Catalog
- “Journaling Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self Discovery” from Psych Central
What are you teaching next semester?
When students ask me this, I’m never sure if they want to take my class or avoid my class! 🙂
Either way, I’m teaching two sections of ENG 1141 (ENG 1141-OL06 and ENG 1141-OL07) in the spring. ENG 1141 is an Introduction to Creative Writing class. The pre-requisite is ENG 1101, so you could certainly take it!
The sections I’m teaching in Spring 2021 are already full, but you could put yourself on the waitlist. Or….wait until Fall 2021. (Truly, Fall 2021 will come faster than you think). I’d be happy to see any of you again.
Good-bye! Good luck! Stay healthy! Stay in touch!
Take care, everyone. I’ve been teaching a while, but this semester, with all of its challenges and strangeness will be one I will remember. You are an impressive bunch of first semester students. I can’t wait to see where you all go!