Survival Tips for the First Mod and Beyond
I have worked at the Idaho Falls Campus for six years. When I started working here, we had just started offering classes on-ground and we had a grand total of five students.
Since then, our campus has grown substantially and I have seen many students enroll and many of those students graduate. I have had the unique opportunity to teach students in their first module and then to read their names at graduation. Working with and watching students achieve great success has given me some insight into the things that helped them reach their dreams.
1. It’s ok to have questions. You’re here to learn, not because you already know everything.
It can be intimidating to try out a new skill for the first time. Try it anyway. Rarely are people naturally good at something the first time they give it a go. Even the most masterful of their craft had to start somewhere, and the place they started was exactly the place you are now – at the beginning. Be open to the learning process, which includes making mistakes.
2. Communication is vital!
If you haven’t already, take some time to read through the catalog. It’s chock full of information students need to know. It’s full of so much information, in fact, that it’s easy to miss some of the important stuff as you’re learning more about the college and how to be a successful student.
That’s why we’re here. If you have questions, ask. If there are things you need to be aware of, we communicate that information through as many avenues as are available to us. Check your email and Canvas announcements every day. Follow the campus Facebook page. Save the front desk phone number, your financial planner’s phone number, and your academic advisor’s phone number so you know to answer those calls when you receive them, and you won’t be left out of the loop.
3. The habits you create in your first module are the habits you will carry with you.
Show up. Turn your work in on time. Ask questions. Keep up on the reading. Don’t procrastinate. Whether you feel motivated to get up and out the door or to start working on that paper or not doesn’t matter. Your grades are dependent on your actions, not your motivations or intentions. If you build good habits in your first module, it is easier to maintain that motivation throughout your academic career. If you justify being late a couple times, or put off homework until the last minute, it becomes easier to keep doing those things and more difficult to succeed under the pressure and stress those habits create. The commitment of college doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but it does have to be managed.
4. Trust me; you aren’t the only one wondering what you got yourself into.
College is a commitment and a change in the routine and habits you’ve developed. Anytime we take on a new challenge or commitment, we have to reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses. We have to reprioritize our daily habits to reach our new goals. We have to work out a new way of managing our time and other obligations. You are stepping out of the comfort zone you’ve grown accustomed to and it’s going to feel a little; well, frankly, it will feel a little uncomfortable. That is normal. Stress and uncertainty are a normal part of the cycle of change and growth and you are not alone. Talk to your admissions consultant, your instructors, your advisor, another student – we’re here to help you learn to navigate the college experience.
About the Author
Liz Law is the Director of Student Services at the Idaho Falls Campus. In addition to academic advising and planning student events, she teaches CSS101. Her favorite part of working at Stevens-Henager is seeing students she taught walk across the stage at graduation to accept the diplomas they earned.