My advice for new students

UIC campus on first day of fall semester 2015.

Three semesters ago, I was on the verge of academic probation and doubted my coming years as a college student. Now my name is on the most recent Dean’s List. What may seem like a drastic turnaround only occurred due to minor changes in my academic lifestyle. I confided in a fellow English major friend and he gave me great advice:“Just get your work done.” A simple yet edifying statement and really, that’s all it is — mixed with a bit of determination.

If I had all of this newfound knowledge back when I first started college, I wouldn’t be freaking out about getting into grad schools. I’m leaving a few tips to help you unfold your inner note and just get your work done. Take my advice and wear it well.

Be engaged. If you dread going to class, you’ll be bored during the class. It’s simple. Go to class eager to expand your mind and you’ll leave enlightened each and every time. Participate in discussions in order to truly understand the material. Don’t just show up, be present. You’ll want to show off how much you know about the subject if you truly care — making it easier to do the work.

Time management is the major key. Get a daily planner and work studying into your schedule. Gradually, it will become habit. I can’t stress this enough.

Keep good company. I read a quote once that said, “You are the average of the five people you hang around the most.” I was completely unmotivated, getting bad grades, and so were the people I spent the most time with three semesters ago. I immediately joined clubs on campus and made friends with the people in my classes. Spending time with family is important, too. It felt good that they were proud I was doing well in school.

What do you want to do? Being able to directly answer this question in regard to academics and career prospects has changed my work ethic entirely. It made goals more visible and left me with an understanding of what I’m working toward. This semester I want a 4.0.


Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in media, cultural and rhetoric studies. She hopes to practice and master an assortment of mediums, including screenwriting, writing for the New York Times, lifestyle blogging, fiction and radio broadcasting. Bernie has a passion for creating and sharing stories. The heightened diversity of the city atmosphere surrounding UIC is perfect for her. Bernie’s side hobbies are indulging in TV shows (specifically Scandal, Girls and Law and Order: SVU), interior design and Instagram. 

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