Planning for Success: Ways to Start the Spring 2018 Semester off Right

Academic success can be measured in a variety of ways: high GPA, consistent attendance, good school/life balance. None of these indicators happens by accident, however. With thoughtful preparation, any scholar can provide scaffolding for their dreams and accomplishments. For students in recovery from a substance use disorder, finding strategies to support their recovery process is vital to scholastic achievement.

While it can be tempting to use the whole winter break for fun and relaxation, you can also manage to fit in a little bit of organizing for the spring semester. If you are scheduled to take a higher level class, reviewing the notes for the entry or 100-level course already completed can be beneficial.  Instead of simply throwing old binders of notes into a closet, or worse, throwing them out, a quick once over to pull out useful material and discard unnecessary pages can make efficient storage more manageable. Take a few hours to go online and browse the internet: some professors post their class materials online early, or have taught the same course before. Nothing is set in stone until the first day of class, of course, but getting familiar with the course requirements and expectations may be helpful.

After you have condensed your old work from last semester, setting up new ones for Spring 2018 will not only assist you in maintaining accurate files and notes, it may also bring you a sense of positivity about the upcoming semester. Colorful binder dividers and clearly labeled tabs may not make a significant difference in your class performance, but they may make you even marginally more willing to keep the notes nearby for regular review and study.

Once you have your official syllabi for your new classes, a large desk or wall calendar where you can see upcoming deadlines is often useful. You can easily enter the same dates and deadlines into a mobile online calendar, so anytime someone invites you to an activity, you can quickly add the information. Online calendars have the added bonus of letting you schedule an event weekly or monthly, like clubs, recovery groups, or social events. Looking at your course schedule should make it easier for you to plan which nights you need to stay in, study, and get to bed early, and which evenings are better for recreation and leisure activities.

While Benjamin Franklin took a negative view of the lack of preparation (“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”) you can choose a positive one, “By succeeding at planning, you are planning for success” in the new semester!

At Ammon Foundation, we are committed to helping individuals in addiction recovery access higher education and pursue their dreams. Your past doesn’t determine your future. To learn more about our academic scholarships or our Empowerment Workshop Series, visit our website.