General study tips for new or returning students

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Whether you are attending a particular school for the first time or returning to school after a significant absence, it is well to observe the following to ensure a smooth transition to the school environment.

1. Curriculum or Course Content
Familiarize yourself with your curriculum. Be aware of the topics to be covered and the duration of each course. Take note especially of the timelines for submission of papers and conduct of exams. In this manner, you can be prepared knowing what to expect in the semesters to come. You will also be able to tell which subjects you will need to allot greater time for study.

2. Access to Key People
Get to know the key people in school and how to get in touch with them, meaning those who directly teach, as well as those you can run to for guidance or mentoring. They can be your instructors, guidance counselors, sports coaches, and spiritual leaders. Establish rapport with them so you can be comfortable in approaching them and vice versa.

3. “No Man is An Island”
Get to know your classmates and establish a relationship with them. The often used phrase “no man is an island” also applies in school. Your classmates and peers can help you by providing moral and emotional support as well as serve as study buddies in preparing for exams. You may not have enough time to establish a close relationship with everybody though. Remember that you may be in a better position to succeed in school if you choose wisely who to be close friends with. It is usual to be friends who people who share your interests, but also take note that these same people will have the power to either propel you to success or hinder you in your objectives in attending school.

4. Important Places
Locate the important places and establish how to get there. Aside from where the classes are held, and the dormitory or student residence (assuming you will be staying in such), visit the library, gym, church, students’ study center, and places where you can obtain food. The latter can be the school cafeteria or the nearby restaurants suitable to your palate and budget.

5. Extracurricular Development
Depending on your extracurricular interest, find out how you can join a sports club, drama or theater organization, business forum, arts sessions, among others. Engaging in these activities gives you a refreshing break from academics, form new friendships, and become a well rounded individual.

6. Spiritual Sustenance
If it is important to seek physical sustenance by checking out the restaurants, it is also critical to know where you can find spiritual guidance and be with people of the same spiritual belief. This group can provide emotional support and mentoring in your day to day living. When things get to be too pressure-filled in your academics, it helps to know that there are people who can help with your success.

7. Feeling at Home
If you are a foreign student, keep in touch with students of your nationality or international students in general. They will make you feel at home and give you access to cultural events and people who can mentor you and give you advice on how to make it through your course.

8. Security
Find out the security situation in and around your school and place of residence. Stay away from areas which are not safe. Memorize where to seek help in case of a security threat.

9. Other Resources
Lastly, you may want to check out various resources offered by the school such as counseling services.

You may also get information on facilities such as banks, hair salons and bookstores.

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