Its time to put “vacation brain” back in the attic with all the Christmas decorations and say que tal to another semester. For this I dust off last year’s (2012) notebook and take the crayons, bag of crushed Cheez-its, and hair ribbons that magically made their way into my backpack over the Christmas break. (I am sure my niños were just briefly storing those things there.) Along with gathering my number 2 pencils and college rule paper, I am assessing what I learned last semester and in so doing, prepare for the next.
I discovered some priceless study helps that helped me go from struggling to understanding and get an A in both Chemistry and Physics. Instead of plain rote memorization as a study method I was able to slowly work through the concepts I was having a difficult time with and apply abstract ideas or illustrations that I was already familiar with. I learned what worked for me and what didn’t. There were many “eureka!” moments, sans the getting out of the tub without any clothes part.
Another thing I learned was the importance of peer learning and networking. The truth is, sometimes we just don’t get something the professor is teaching on or perhaps we weren’t present at a class to know of an upcoming quiz. Peer networking is the way to go.
Lastly, I became aware of another valuable key to success: keeping a constant and professional communication with my professors. Besides creating a great habit for career development, showing essential values such as respect, integrity, and gratefulness to my professors produced a long-term return on a short-term investment.
Much was gained besides the information acquired in the courses I was studying. I learned a lot about myself and about others that, I trust, will continue to payoff in the semesters to come.