Quite possibly the best week of any semester.
Everyone loves it because it’s the “slow” week, it’s the intro back into classes. Everything is fine until you get that famous sheet of paper (or sometimes packet)
Now, it can be easy to hate the syllabus, because it’s basically an outline of all the work you’re going to have to do this semester and all the stress you’ll have to be under.
But that reason right there is the reason it can also be your best friend.
It’s basically an outline of all the work you’re going to have to do this semester.
Right in front of you! For free! Simply put and dated. Hooray!
A classes’ syllabus is a great tool for planning your semester, as long as you look at it the right way.
Here’s how to get the most out of that jam-packed piece of paper:
notice the weights of grades
The cool thing about different classes is that depending on the subject and professor, the grades can be weighted in different ways. I’ve had classes where in one, the homework was worth 20% of the overall grade. In another that same semester, the homework was completely optional and worth no credit.
This can be super helpful when you’re crunched for time and need to prioritize your work. It can help you determine how much time to put into a project, or how much homework to do.
I recommend doing all your homework, because it benefits you, but if one night you’re stressing about two assignments and one isn’t even credit bearing, focus on the other one. Plan your study sessions around what is worth the most.
look at office hours
I truly think office hours are under-appreciated and here’s why: professors are required to take time out of their week to help you out, and not a lot of people use them. If you are stuck on something, or just need something clarified and don’t want to ask in class, office hours are the perfect time to get that straightened out.
The professor will likely be happy to see you so they don’t have to sit and do nothing. A professor will have their hours on their syllabus, so you can mark them in your calendar if you ever need to go!
get a feel for the course rigor
This is one of my favorite things about syllabus week, even though it can be daunting. A lot of times, large projects, tests and quizzes will be outlined on the syllabus so you can plan ahead. This will help you get a feel for how hard the class will be. At the very least, the midterm and final will be on there so you can put those in your planner/calendar.
know how to contact the professor
Pro tip: never be afraid to contact your professor. They don’t mind. They want to help you do your best and are the ones who will know exactly what you need for your assignment.
The only thing to be wary of is the time that you message them. They may not be inclined to help you at 2 am the night before class. Work on assignments early so you can solve any problems you may stumble upon.
Alright, now that you crushed syllabus week, go take on the rest of the semester!
Best wishes always
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