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Tips to optimize your time at OSU

Thursday, August 28, 2008

(August 28, 2008  Stillwater, OK) - Here are some tips, based on solid research, which should help you get the best value from your education at OSU.

Get to know at least one person on campus who can keep tabs on you. This could be an advisor, part-time employer, minister, counselor, instructor or a fellow student. Be patient, this can take some time.

Find out whom to contact to get the educational or personal support services you need. Don’t hesitate to call someone for help (On-campus, dial 4 plus the four digit number. If you are on campus and calling an off-campus local number, dial 8 plus the seven digit number.) Go to the online directory at

If you have a fulltime 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 hours at work but Stillwater merchants should have plenty of practice to help you control your on-the-job hours too.  Transportation is often the deciding factor.

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.

Make a commitment to attend class and get there on time. Class attendance and participation are often important to your grade. The more you know about what you need to be studying 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.

Don’t hesitate to visit your professor at his/her office if you think you need help or have specific questions that weren’t answered during class or that you’d rather 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 hand out 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.

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.

Identify time gaps during the day that you can use for study. There may be gaps of time between classes, gaps between lunch and 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 get back 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.

Need some quiet study time? Try the library.  It’s not as hard to get around in the library as it may seem and its resources and options for study spaces are hard to beat.

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 time in the evening or early morning 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?

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.

Ask upperclassmen about professors who stimulate discussion and learning.
Consider how important professors really are to 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.

Save some time for campus activities. Root for the Cowboys, attend an SUAB movie at the Student Union Theatre, or check out OSU’s many cultural activities. For a list of activities, go to and

Improve your writing skills. Try to write something everyday, maybe keep a journal. Whether you’re going into a field that involves journalism or not, employers appreciate good writers.

Take care of yourself. What you eat and drink as well as those extracurricular activities matter to your health. The better you feel, the better you’ll likely perform. Avoid stress as much as possible and keep the Colvin Recreational Center on your “to do” list all the time.

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. No matter the field you choose, it’s good to know what specific job options are out there. (Contact Career Services on campus.)

Keep your expectations realistic. Some people do better in college grade-wise, others struggle more than they did in high school. Do your best and don’t wait to get help whenever you need it.

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