It’s September 4th. You arrive at Columbia Bible College, eager and ready to start a new chapter in your life and not just thinking about it. You get your Orientation package, your dorm keys, and your shiny ID card that says (theoretically) “You are officially a college student!” and you feel like you can conquer anything. Soon you get wrapped up in all the excitement of Orientation week, meeting new people, decorating your dorm room, going to volleyball practice, and spending a lot of time introducing yourself! “This is awesome!” you think, “I can’t wait for class!”
Then syllabus week comes. No big deal, just five syllabi for five different classes with weekly assignments on most of them, and a few major papers worth *eek* 30% of your final grade. You completely forgot that you now have the responsibility of completing homework on your own time, and maintaining an appropriate GPA. As you look at your syllabi, scattered on your desk, you start to sweat a little.
Never Fear. Columbia’s Academic Support Services team has your back on three ways to master your homework!
ONE: Create a (realistic) Weekly Schedule
We all are optimistic about how we will spend our time, but as we all have experienced at one time or another, even the best laid plans fall through. If you do not schedule time for homework, class, sports and music practices, work outs, and even meals, they may not happen!
Depending on your credit loading, you will spend about 24-36 hours a week on homework. That’s a full-time job on top of going to class and having a life! It is easy to let those hours slip by, and you will feel it the week you have more than one major assignment due. The best thing about budgeting your time wisely is that you’ll never have to feel that soul-crushing realization that hits when you leave things to the last minute.
Remember to be realistic. If you hate life before 9am (the struggle is real), then budgeting homework times from 6-8:30am is probably not realistic. Also, if you value your life (which we really hope you do!) do not just make a schedule that only shows academics. A danger for many eager first year students is burning out early. Remember to schedule times to be flexible, and to schedule time to do the things that give you life, like climbing, working out, creating art, or watching Netflix. Balance is key!
TWO: Create an Assignment Master List
Once you get your one thousand syllabi (ok, ok, max. six), it is time to figure out how to budget the homework time you have carved out. Some classes have readings and assignments due weekly, while others have fewer but more major assignments throughout the semester. It is easy to miss an important deadline! Academic Support has created an “Assignment Master List” that allows students to keep chronological track of when your assignments are due for all your classes, as well as lets you know how much time you need to dedicate to that particular assignment. We will even help you build it!
THREE: Book an Appointment with Academic Support Services to proofread your first paper
Academic Support Services at Columbia is here to help! Even the best English student struggles with their first college-level essays. How do I cite properly? How do I write a thesis? What is an exegetical paper? Does formatting my paper matter? It can be overwhelming! Instead of freaking out, book an appointment with Robin & Ferin, the Academic Support Coordinators.
Both are super nerds who love to read and write papers, and would be professional students if it were possible! So let us do the “fun stuff” of writing your paper; we are familiar with Columbia’s Term Paper Guide and Academic policies so you can have confidence when we edit your assignments! And the best part is that this is a completely FREE service.
So, if you haven’t already, make sure you take these three steps to “master” your homework. If you have any questions about how to study effectively, write a good paper, read efficiently, or study for exams, let us know! You can e-mail Academic Support Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment with us online.