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Tips to optimize your time at OSU

Monday, August 22, 2005

Here are some tips based on solid research that should help you get the most value from your education at OSU.

  1. Get to know at least one person on campus who can monitor you. This could be an advisor, part-time employer, minister, counselor, instructor, or fellow student. Be patient; this can take some time. Find out whom to contact for the educational or personal support services you need.
  2. Don’t hesitate to call someone for help (on-campus, dial 4 plus the four-digit number; off-campus, dial 8 plus the seven-digit number).
  3. Here are some numbers you may wish to keep handy:
  4. Campus phone operator: dial “0” or 744-5000 (off campus)
  5. Student Health Center: 744-7665  
  6. Stillwater Medical Center 372-1480 
  7. Emergency (Police, Fire, Ambulance) 911
  8. Career Services: 744-5253 or (also part-time work/work-study)
  9. Student Counseling Center: 744-5472,
  10. Library: 744-9775 or
  11. Campus Recreation: 744-5510 or 744-3798
  12. About email/internet access: All active OSU students can sign up for university email using the Orange Key (O-Key) Account Services system. Go to The OSU “current student” site is, and the OSU homepage is
  13. If you have a full-time class schedule, try to limit part-time work to 20 hours a week. Researchers say on-campus jobs are usually the best bet for controlling work hours, but Stillwater merchants should have plenty of practice to help you control your on-the-job hours, too. Transportation is often the deciding factor.
  14. Answer the question: “Why am I in college?”  When you do, you’ll be better able to set specific goals for yourself and make your college years more productive.
  15. Commit to attend class and get there on time. Class attendance and participation are often crucial to your grade. The more you know about what you must study for, the less time you’ll waste “guessing” about it.  It might help to consider timely attendance at class as just “good practice” for being at meetings on time once you hit the career world.
  16. Don’t hesitate to visit your professor at their office if you need help or have questions that weren’t answered during class or that you’d instead just ask privately. Most professors post the times during the week that they are available to meet with students on their office doors. They usually give their office address on a syllabus or other handouts during the first week of classes. You can also find them in the campus phone book. Visit your professor as often as needed. Most professors appreciate the interaction and your desire to learn.
  17. Outline a daily/weekly schedule and try to stick to it. Get a calendar, daily organizer, or something similar to help you write it down. Spend some time each week roughing out a schedule for the next week. Think about your priorities — classes, study time, fun time, work, breakfast, lunch, dinner, organization or group activities, exercise, etc. Scheduling is another practice that’s standard in the career world.
  18. Identify time gaps during the day that you can use for study. There may be time gaps between classes, lunch, a part-time job, etc. Use those time gaps as study time when possible. Duck into the library or find a quiet place in the Union if there’s not enough time to return to your room. You may be surprised how much you can accomplish, especially during the day when you are as alert as possible. At the same time, set regular time aside for study each day.
  19. Need some quiet study time? Try the library. It’s not as hard to get around as it may seem, and its resources and options for study spaces are hard to beat.
  20. As the semester goes along, give yourself a “study assessment.” Ask yourself what is working and what is not as far as your study habits are concerned. Are you using the time gaps (above) wisely? Are you setting aside enough evening or early morning time to complete your assignments? Are you involved in too many activities or not enough? Are you working too many hours at that part-time job? Are you having some fun and meeting some people?
  21. Consider studying regularly with a friend, joining a study group, or even forming one. Surveys show that students who study in groups often make higher grades.
  22. Consider how important professors are in offering you the best education possible, and choose your classes accordingly. You’re investing the time (and money); make sure it’s quality time, even if it doesn’t always fit your schedule perfectly.
  23. Save some time for campus activities. Root for the Cowboys, attend a SUAB movie at the Student Union Theatre or check out OSU’s many cultural activities. For a list of activities, go to and
  24. Improve your writing skills. Try to write something every day, maybe keep a journal. Employers appreciate good writers, whether you’re going into a field that involves journalism or not.
  25. Take care of yourself. What you eat and drink, as well as your extracurricular activities, matters to your health. The better you feel, the better you’ll likely perform. Avoid stress as much as possible, and always keep the Colvin Recreational Center on your “to-do” list.
  26. Don’t lose sight of your career goals. While your goals may change along with your academic major, keep up with the latest career information. Regardless of your chosen field, it’s good to know what specific job options exist. (Contact Career Services on campus.) Keep your expectations realistic. Some people do better in college grade-wise, while others struggle more than in high school. Do your best, and don’t wait to get help whenever needed.
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