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You have probably heard it all: Study smart! Get involved! Ask for help when you need it! Hit the ground running! But what does it all mean, and how do you do it? From managing time and money to knowing what is expected of you, here is a guide to many of the questions and challenges you may have as a student. Remember: If you’re not getting help at Dakota Wesleyan, you’re not asking for it.

Getting Involved Student Responsibilities
Professors, Syllabi, and Office Hours Time Management
Money Management Additional Resources
Academic Success

Return to TopGetting Involved
Everyone is telling you to ‘get involved,’ but you’re not exactly sure what that means. This is a phrase that mystifies many college students, most of whom are probably already ‘involved’ and just don’t know it. So what does it mean? Getting involved on campus means that you’re participating in events and activities outside of your classes and, possibly, your sport. For many students, getting involved is as easy as showing up – to chapel, to Student Activities Board entertainers, to study groups, to sporting events, to dorm programs, to club meetings. Think about it: If you go to just one event per week, you have gone to more than 30 different experiences throughout the school year!

Beyond just showing up, getting involved also means taking on leadership roles. For some students, this means running for a position in Student Senate; for others, it might mean organizing a study group for their philosophy class. Yet other students may look for an undergraduate research opportunity or volunteer for a service project in the community. Whatever you choose to do, ‘getting involved’ means finding out what you like and how to make the most of it, so that your college experience is as full and fulfilling as you like.

Attend an event...
Not sure where to start? The Community Plunge at the beginning of the school year is a great place to begin. For underclassmen and new students, the Leadership Development Team is a group whose sole purpose is helping students get involved. Additionally, you can always check the Tiger Trib for the latest on what’s happening and what’s coming up on campus – grab a friend and go
Action Item: Pick an event – any event – and go to it.
Action Item: Download the latest Tiger Trib.

Return to TopStudent Responsibilities
College is a time of unprecedented independence, and for some students, the expectations aren’t entirely clear. There are a few responsibilities that every student has; here is a short list.

Check your DWU email...

First, check your DWU e-mail at least once a day. For many instructors, this is their only way of contacting you. If a class is cancelled, the notification will be e-mailed to you; if a due date is changed, it will be e-mailed to you; if the instructor wants to clarify something from class, it will be e-mailed to you. Dakota Wesleyan provides you an e-mail address for a reason, and that reason is that it is the best – and sometimes only – way for the university to contact you. Do yourself a favor – check it.
Action Item: Check your school e-mail every day.

Read the Tiger Trib...
Second, while you’re checking your e-mail, make sure you read the Tiger Trib. The Trib is a newsletter that goes out to all of campus to keep everyone updated on important dates, unique opportunities and fun events. Often, your instructors will offer extra credit for participating in some of these events – so you’ll want to be sure you know what’s going on!
Action Item: Read, or skim, the Tiger Trib on Mondays and Thursdays every week.
Action Item: Download the latest Tiger Trib.
Be responsible for your education...
Finally, be responsible for your own education. Your adviser is there to help you select your courses, but you need to take the initiative to meet with him or her. Your instructor is there to help you understand the course material, but you need to put time and energy into trying to learn it. As adult as you may feel, blowing off assignments and skipping class are the hallmarks of immaturity; don’t damage your education and reputation as a student by succumbing to inappropriate academic behavior.
Action Item: Act like an adult: put effort into your classes.

Return to TopProfessors, Syllabi and Office Hours
Believe it or not, most of your professors really look forward to getting to know you – so let them! They will certainly become valuable resources for your education, will likely be references for you in the future and may even someday become friends. It is in your best interest, then, to get along with them; here’s how.

Read the syllabi...
Every course you take will provide you with a syllabus. A syllabus is an outline of the course topics, deadlines and expectations of the instructor. Read it. Highlight every due date, be sure to check the attendance policy, and skim through the assignments so you know what you’re up against all semester. Some instructors have more detailed syllabi than others, but be sure to read every one anyway. The horror story that parents love to tell sometimes really is true: an instructor may never remind you in class that you have an assignment or presentation due, and you’ll find out when you walk into class that day unprepared. How to avoid this? Read the syllabus. You are responsible for knowing and understanding everything it includes – so if you miss a part, it’s not the instructor’s fault.
Action Item: Read the syllabus for every class.
Get to know Your professors...
In addition to due dates, your syllabi will also include the time and location of your instructor’s office hours. At least once per semester, be sure to visit each professor during this time. If you are struggling with something in class, stopping in during office hours is the perfect way to get the help you need. Even if you don’t have a specific question about class, it will be a good opportunity to get to know them – and for them to get to know you. Instructors notice and remember students who have made the effort to visit them during office hours – and when your grade is tottering between a B and an A, you’ll be glad you did.
Action Item: Visit your professors during office hours.

Return to TopTime Management
Class. Practice. Homework. Lunch. Sleep. Friends. Where does all the time go? You may have heard that you have three options in college: Sleep, study and socialize, but you can only pick two. If that doesn’t sound very appealing to you, then you need to learn the art of time management.

Log your time...
For some students, scheduling their time comes naturally. Most students, however, struggle with sticking to their plan. The trick to maintaining a workable schedule is to be flexible and plan in ‘empty time.’ To do that, you will need to view your week as a whole; this time log can help. Fill in your non-negotiable commitments, like class, practice and group meetings. Then, figure out how much time you need for other things: studying, sleeping, eating, working, etc. Remember that you should spend two hours outside of class for every one hour you spend in it; some classes may require more or less, so plan accordingly.
Action Item: Download a printable time log.
Action Item: Complete a time log and see where your time is going.
Evaluate your goals...
“Okay,” you might say, “I know how much time I should be spending on things, but it never happens that way – something always comes up and I procrastinate!” You are not alone; time management is a struggle on every college campus. Unfortunately, the solution is not very appealing. Managing your time means prioritizing your responsibilities and commitments, and time spent on favorite activities may need reigning in. The first step is to think about your goals for college; write them at the top of a page. Then, list every item deserving of your attention: class, your family, your sport, work, formal activities (clubs, theatre, etc.), informal activities (Call of Duty, Facebook, etc.), and anything else you wish to include. Which of these best serve your goals for college? How much time do you devote to them currently, and how much adjusting will it take to achieve the goals you set? Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary?
Action Item: Determine your goals for college.
Action Item: Prioritize your activities based on their support for your goals.
Seek assistance with time management...
Often, this can be a rude awakening, and realigning your time management may seem like a huge undertaking; it does not have to be. Small changes can reap big results, you just have to be willing to make them. If you would like help on managing your time throughout the week, set up an appointment with Malik Stewart and take the first step to getting your schedule under control!
Action Item: Schedule an appointment with Malik Stewart to review your schedule.

Return to TopMoney Management
There’s no denying it: college is expensive. Even if you aren’t making regular tuition payments, small expenses add up quickly. Laundry, eating off campus, birthday presents, decorations for your dorm, snack food, new boots for the snow – these are things that are difficult to budget for. How do you avoid going broke, then?

Whether your family will be providing regular cash, you have savings from the summer or you plan on working part time, you need to figure out what your income is and how much money you have to spend each semester. Then, track your expenses for a week or two; where does it all go? Make sure, by checking your bank statement or your receipts, that you are spending your money in ways that will help you achieve your goals for college. If you want help figuring out an appropriate budget or finding a job to help supplement your income, stop by the Center for Talent Development to discuss your options.

Return to TopResources
If you have a question or a problem and you don’t know exactly where to go, here is your cheat-sheet guide to getting the help you need to succeed as a student. This list of resources is not exhaustive, but will hopefully point you in the right direction.

Academic Adviser
Your adviser will be one of the best resources you’ll have while at college. He or she will help you select your major and minor, explore career options, and guide you in the right direction when you encounter obstacles during your college career. Get to know your adviser, and never ignore a letter or e-mail from them! If you are unsure who your adviser is, you may inquire at the registrar’s office or look on your class schedule.
Campus Counselor
The campus counselor is an invaluable resource for all students, regardless of your personal situation. Whether you are dealing with family issues, test anxiety, general academic stress or are just having a rough day, every student should get to know the counselor. While you may feel there is a stigma attached to speaking to a professional, there is no shame in seeking a confidential ear when you need it!
Campus Nurse
Your throat is scratchy, your head is pounding, and you have class in 20 minutes. What to do? Go to the nurse (right after you e-mail your professor). Toughing it out on your own will likely look to your instructors as though you’re faking sick; when you are under the weather, though, the campus nurse can contact your instructors informing them that you really are ill. Nearly all services are free, so stay on the safe side – when in doubt, check it out.
Information Technology
Not only can you not connect to the Internet, but the printer is jammed, too. Rather than just sitting around hoping it will fix itself, contact the helpdesk. Don’t be shy; there are no stupid questions when it comes to taking care of technology, and it’s better for them to hear five times about an issue than never.
If you live on campus, you will have a resident assistant and a resident director. These folks are here to make your life safer and easier, so if you have any problems at all – from a roommate conflict to a difficult class – ask them for help. They are specifically trained to point you in the right direction and help you find what you need.

Return to Top

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Last updated: 6/15/12