10 Tips for a Successful Semester

Alli Williams

Students Walking

Fall Semester starts next week and Truckee Meadows Community College will be welcoming many new students, as well as welcoming back returning students.

College can be difficult for anyone, but there are numerous strategies that incoming students can use in order to be more successful, and TMCC has a lot of college resources, including the Welcome Center and New Student Services, to help students thrive.

Faculty, staff and student leaders at TMCC offered their tips and advice for how students can be successful in the upcoming semester and stay focused long-term.

1. Keep yourself motivated.

Staying motivated to do well in your classes is no easy feat in college. Self-motivation is all about mindset. If you focus your energy on school, you will have an easier time completing your classes.

“There was a lack of motivation for me in high school. Once you get that mindset of making school a priority, you will be able to see how easy it is to transition into college.” —Keeli Curl, Peer Recruiter

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Navigating college can be really confusing, but you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Make sure that you ask questions if you need help or don’t understand something.

“Some advice I give students every semester it to make sure to utilize their resources like the Counseling Center, Tutoring and Learning Center, and Academic Advisment, and to ask for help when needed.” —Mari Jiminez Ortiz, GEAR UP Ambassador Coordinator

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and communicate with professors. Coming to college can be a bit intimidating but asking for help can definitely bring you a long way in getting the best education.” —Betty Cervantes-Castro, Peer Recruiter

3. Surround yourself with those supporting your education.

Making friends and forming study groups at TMCC is a great way to keep you motivated to do well in classes. You want to ensure that you surround yourself with friends and family who support your goals, and who want to see you succeed in your education.

“It really depends on your friends. I've seen a lot of friends go through college and actually reach their goal and graduate college. Being able to see that inspires me to continue my education. If you have friends who are in college and going through the same experience you are, it’s easier for you guys to rely on each other.” —Enrique Llamas, Peer Recruiter

4. Understand your priorities and set goals for yourself.

Attending class every day was a requirement in high school, but in college only you can hold yourself accountable. You must self-reflect on what it is you want in order to reach your goals.

“You have to want to be here, and you have to be willing to put in the work. Show up to class every day!” —Yuli Chavez Camarena, Program Director, Access, Outreach and Recruitment

“When you leave school, school doesn’t end. You have to think ahead to your next test or next assignment and always be planning to make your time in college successful.” —Keeli Curl, Peer Recruiter

5. Organize your time.

Time management is crucial in meeting assignment deadlines, showing up to class on time, and making sure you have plenty of time to study.

“One thing I like to do is sit down and plan out my week, so I look at my work and class schedule, and then what homework assignments I have for that week so that I can plan out when to do what.” —McKenzie Nicolaisen, Peer Recruiter

“To stay on top of due dates, enter all assignment due dates into your smartphone and add reminders.” —Brandy Scamati, Program Director, WebCollege and Academic Support Center

6. Connect with the College.

Getting involved on campus is a great way to stay on track and become fully immersed in your college experience. When you feel a sense of belonging at TMCC, you will have an easier time staying motivated to attend your classes and do all of your work.

Join a club! You can network with peers and people in the community. It is how I learned about a paid research internship program and found a mentor.” —Kim Tran, 2017–18 Student Government Association President

7. Create a balance between school and life.

While you want school to be your primary focus, it’s important to take some time for yourself and relax. If you are overworked and overstressed, you will be less inclined to continue on. Find that perfect balance between school work and living your life outside of school.

“You need to work hard, but also have some fun in college. You don’t want to stress yourself out to the point where school is no fun. Keep in mind that you need to relax sometimes while still being motivated and dedicated to your goals. It’s all about balance.” —Denisse Merino, Peer Recruiter

8. Don't procrastinate.

Procrastination can be a slippery slope to failure. It’s easy to put something off, but if you keep in mind deadlines for assignments and tests days, you will be able to manage your time more wisely and ensure that you don’t procrastinate until the last possible minute.

“Avoid procrastinating by pretending the due date is the day before.” —Heather Haddox, Educational Leadership (EPY 101) Instructor

9. Use the resources offered at TMCC.

TMCC offers students a wide range of resources both online and in person. These services are designed for student support and to help students succeed.

“There are places like the Diversity and International Student Center and Office (DISCO) and the Career Center that students can go to do homework or seek information, or even just to relax. There are just so many opportunities for students to get help academically, or even in their personal lives, and it's something that I wish more students knew about.” —McKenzie Nicolaisen, Peer Recruiter

10. Make time to do some career exploration.

You may have an idea of what it is you want to do, but in order to fully know what comes with a career, you should get some on-the-job experience! Whether that is through an internship, apprenticeship or volunteering, you should get hands-on experience in the area you’re studying to make sure that you are on the right track after you graduate or transfer from TMCC.

“Make time to do some career exploration—whether it’s an internship or volunteer experience. You can ask for responsibilities at your current job that will lead to a field you want to study. Make sure that the degree you are seeking will help you in a career that you actually want to do. Don’t graduate without having some kind of work experience in a field that you’re interested in.” —Yuli Chavez Camarena, Program Director, Access, Outreach and Recruitment

By following these tips, and using the resources offered at TMCC, incoming and returning students alike will have a better chance at succeeding.

To learn more about what resources are available to you, visit the Welcome Center and New Student Resources online or in person, or view a list of popular "College Resources" from the main menu at the top of any web page. Also available online from the main menu: a comprehensive helpful resource list of Information for Current Students.