To get the most out of college, you have to dedicate yourself to it. You can’t just show up. You have to be prepared. Be involved. Have the discipline and concentration to get the most out of each experience. That’s certainly true for cultural things. Maybe you’re planning on joining the World Heart Day walk this Tuesday. Or perhaps going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival on October 3rd with the History, Humanities, and Honors clubs is more your style. Maybe you’ll read Positive and attend Paige Rawl’s talk on October 27th. All of these things improve dramatically when you’ve prepared yourself for them first.
But it is equally true for scholarship. You don’t learn just because you’re signed up for classes. You learn because you do the hard work of thinking about, criticizing, and synthesizing the ideas you encounter. And it’s not just listening attentively in class and taking good notes – it’s all aspects of academics, from homework to forum postings.
Take writing a paper. First you brainstorm, perhaps write a formal proposal, and then do preliminary research. Next you refine your topic to something that would make a good paper, perhaps writing an outline for it. Then, you do the bulk of your research, read and synthesize your sources, write a rough draft, and revise it. You may review it with others, and put in your citations. And at last, you craft a final, professional paper.
You can’t blow off any of these parts if you want to write a great paper. Every step of the way, you have to make a conscious choice to be prepared, be diligent, be thoughtful. In each step, you have to be ‘all in’. As we enter midterms, the pressure intensifies, and it can be very tempting to give your studies less than your best. But don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Need help researching? Contact us in the library at any time. In the writing phase? The Writing Center is there to help you. Need help with schoolwork other than papers? Try Academic Support Programs. There are a phalanx of IU East employees determined to help you succeed. But only you can bring the right attitude.
Are you ‘all in’?
Good. We’re all in with you, too. Need any help? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org