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Preparing for success

By Sandy Woolfrey- Fahey

Adjusting to a new semester invites words of advice for many students from faculty, friends and family.

“Be prepared.” “Expect the unexpected.” “Failing to prepare prepares you to fail.”

These are just some of the commonly echoed bits of counsel. Memorial University offers extensive resources and opportunities to assist students to prepare from the start of the semester, so if the unexpected does happen, students can cope and rebound with better success.

“Students have tremendous control over how their semester will evolve,” said Dr. Doreen Neville, co-lead on the development of the Teaching and Learning Framework and associate vice-president (academic), planning, priorities and programs. “Early dedication to reviewing course expectations, establishing study plans and identifying resources available on campus are some of key elements to a student’s overall success.”

Establishing a routine with the following habits, is a starting place to begin the semester on the right foot.

  • Attend classes regularly and read the course syllabus, which provides a map for the term;
  • Start studying as soon as classes begin and keep up with assigned readings. It’s much harder to catch up once assignment deadlines approach;
  • Plan a study schedule and save important deadlines in a calendar outlining key milestone goals along the way;
  • Become familiar with the library and other resource centres;
  • Get to know instructors and attend office hours early in the semester;
  • Check course online information frequently for updates and information from professors;
  • Seek help early from a professor, a counsellor, family or friends to help reduce stress;Learn to say “no” politely but firmly. Meeting deadlines will sometimes mean making choices between other activities and getting the work done;
  • Take care of yourself, including getting enough sleep, exercise, quality food and relaxation. It’s important to schedule in leisure and fun too to keep things balanced;
  • Stay in touch with friends and family as they are often the best support units;
  • Create and maintain a budget. Money challenges frequently lead to significant stress for students. Identify term expenses and income at the beginning of the semester to avoid insufficient funds when an important bill or purchase is required. Make a plan for anticipated deficits; and,
  • Have fun. Engage with peers and student societies to make the most of time as a member of the Memorial teaching and learning community. Regardless if a student is coming to campus for the first time or continuing in his or her program, each new semester offers a fresh start. Comprehensive student supports are available on all Memorial campuses.

Find more information here:

St. John’s campus:
Grenfell Campus:
Marine Institute:

Sept. 3, 2014