When this current semester began I thought that I would be in for a treat seeing as I only had class for two days a week. In my mind I imagined all the sleep I would get during my time away from school, as well as how easy it would be to manage my classes since my workload decreased in comparison to previous semesters. It wasn’t until my first day of class, that I realized this semester would actually turn out to be the most complex semester since the beginning of my academic career.
As I began to come to terms with the fact that I had misinterpreted how my semester would pan out, I decided to find a balance between my academic and social life. You may be wondering: what is this “balance” word that people often speak of, which seems to be non-existent in academia? My answer to you is very simple, the way that I find balance during the semester is to practice positive reinforcement, meaning I work hard and party hard.
The process of using positive reinforcement is simple, and if completed properly can promote a positive college experience. All one has to do is to work hard during the semester, and get the highest grades possible on their assignments/exams. After executing each task and receiving a great grade, the student should then reward themselves in whatever fashion they choose. In my experience, the most fulfilling moments of life are the ones that are either spent with my loved ones, or consuming a treat that will send AMAZING sensations throughout my body. However, there are some cases where a simple outing or treat from a well-known bakery isn’t enough, and more appropriate rewards are necessary. If that is the case, I suggest rewarding yourself with an unforgettable experience such as an epic night out on the town, or a vacation during spring break that you’ll remember even when you reach the seasoned age of 100!
I decided to share this tactic, my personal tactic, with you because I’ve noticed how gloomy students tend to look while I walk through the halls of City Tech. Students move slowly through the hallways looking exhausted, and often drag into class, plop down in their seats, and let out a sigh of despair. What most people fail to realize is that the success of your academic career solely depends on your attitude towards your studies. If students go into class with a negative mindset, they won’t absorb the knowledge the professor is providing them with. However, if students go into class thinking “I’m going to do my best so that I can get good grades, and treat myself to cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery when I ace this class”, then they are setting themselves up with a positive mindset that will definitely benefit them in the long run.
My suggestion for students who find it difficult to complete a semester with great grades is to set up a reward system at each major milestone throughout the semester. For example, last semester I took a Professional Editing and Revising course, with a professor that required students to complete a specific amount of assignments during the semester. I set up my semester in a way that every time I finished an assignment I would go to a restaurant that had food I absolutely loved. In the following weeks after handing in the assignment, I would go back to working hard, and once I received my passing grade, I would reward myself by going to get a pastry from Betty Bakery. I continued this process of working hard, passing, and then rewarding myself for the whole semester, and at the end of the semester, I got the A that I deserved.
In retrospect, I would say that the reason I was able to do well during the semester is because I propositioned myself with something I love, so that I could ultimately get good grades, which I also love. By giving myself an incentive to look forward to, I pushed myself to do the best I could on every assignment so that every reward was well deserved. I feel that as college students we often find it difficult to balance our lives, so much so that we often drown in a sea of anxiety, assignments, and examinations. However, the best way for students to get the most out of their semester is too work hard and reward themselves in the process. Students must give themselves reasons to do well, just like back in elementary school, when teachers gave out prizes for passing the infamous spelling quiz. Do you remember how great it felt to get a gold star on your test when you got a 100? Well great! Now apply that same logic to your current academic life, and I’m sure that you will be successful.
Take your studies seriously, get good grades, and then reward yourselves with something that will bring you great happiness. College is about learning as much as you can so that you can get good grades, and ultimately a great career. However, college is also about enjoying your freedom , taking advantage of your twenties, and most of all living your life to the fullest. Just remember to go into class with a positive mindset, then work hard, and after you pass your classes don’t forget to party hard!