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Setup for Success

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Get an accountability partner (for planning, for learning)

  • Why this works: Daily connections with an accountability partner can help you define your goals and motivate you to complete them so that you can report success.
  • How to do it: Choose a friend or classmate and check in with each other regularly on your progress. For example, you might text your most important task for the day. A daily chat on goals and accomplishments would be even more powerful.

Form study groups

  • Why this works: When working diligently with others, you may be more concentrated, deal with challenges with less anxiety, and persist longer, making learning more rewarding and lasting.
  • How to do it: Think about or write down what you want from the study group and how you want it to go and not to go (e.g., “I’d like to learn in a more focused way and test each other on concepts; I want us to chat for maybe 5 to 10 minutes, then work individually for a period before checking in on progress and for help.”)
    Think of three people in your class to contact. Message one of them, simply (e.g., “Hi, I’m in your CHEM 31A class, and I wondered if you’d like to start a study group”). You may want to make the study group a regular event. 

Fill in a quarter calendar

  • Why this works: Having a filled-in quarter calendar on your wall will make planning easier and better because you’ll see the big things coming at you (such as three tests in just two days) and be more motivated to prepare in advance.
  • How to do it: Download and print the Quarter At-A-Glance. Write in all homework, test, and project deadlines from all syllabi. Write in expected major personal events. Put it on your wall and look at it daily when planning.

Create a week template

  • Why this works: When all the things that take up time during your week are displayed visually, you’ll easily see the time windows for study, can plug in when you’ll do what, and productively get on it each day.
  • How to do it: If you like paper, download the Weekly Schedule. If you like electronic calendars, use that. Put in recurring events (e.g., lectures) and approximate times for breakfast, lunch, dinner, work, laundry, groceries, exercise, relaxation, and socializing. The goal is to make it obvious what time you have remaining for coursework. Refer to it daily.

A note about habit change:

If you are like most people, doing any of these strategies consistently will mean breaking old habits and making new habits. Therefore, you can expect that integrating any one strategy into your learning practice will be challenging and take a couple of weeks or more. If you are not following through with a particular strategy, please don’t get discouraged and think you are the only one. Struggle is normal. Instead, troubleshoot the challenge with someone, or make an appointment with an Academic Coach. It’s our job to help you put the strategies in place to feel good about your learning and progress toward your academic goals!