I came close to walking away. Truth be told, I came close to walking away several times over the past five years. This time was due to me. My first year, I put my all into each assignment. The size and value of the assignment did not matter to me, I put my all into each assignment. And the burden of doing so pushed me close to burnout.
Homework: I cannot help doing the homework. You should do homework, but you should learn to prioritize homework early on. I have gotten a lot better about prioritizing what is important and what isn’t homework wise. Learning how to prioritize homework is an important skill. You could be like me in my first year-put your all into everything, quickly get overwhelmed, and on the road to burnout. OR you can figure out what is important to you. What does that mean?
- If an assignment was related to something I was interested in, maximum effort
- If an assignment was not related to something I was interested in, minimal effort
- If an assignment had a lot of weight in the class, i.e. worth a sizeable percentage of the grade, start at maximum effort and scale down as necessary
- If an assignment was obviously busy work, just enough effort to finish
The end result, I turned in 99% of all homework, which I feel is valuable to the classroom experience and learning. Did I put my all into everything, nope, and by doing so I had energy left to be a husband, father, friend, and student. Having energy to do things outside of the class is important to being a successful student and keeping your family life sane.
Reading: I enjoy reading, thus it should come as no surprise that I read most of what is assigned. By read, I mean read all of the words from start to finish. I may take notes, most of the time no, but that is because I have an excellent memory for written material. You may want to take notes. Another valuable skill to learn, is efficient skimming. When I do not read assigned material, I efficiently skim the material: bolded, italicized, or underlined words find them and learn what they mean; chapter headings and sub-headings-get the gist of what it is about; and when something pops up as interesting read that. Efficient skimming saves time.
Note Taking: I am a huge fan of taking notes. I cannot remember everything said during a lecture, nor do I want to. Notes are a pleasant reminder. My notes also include my thoughts on the notes themselves, put critical thinking into your notes. I also like to write down insightful or funny things I hear in class, if you ever wondered where some blog titles come from, it was from a class.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I was the perfect adult student. I was not. I have gotten “yelled” at for talking too much to someone sitting near me. I have a habit of uttering the sarcastic thoughts in my head and on occasion letting the angry dad out because of behavior in the classroom (another 500 Words for sure). There is plenty of room to be a good student, perform well in classes, and be yourself.