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First Year Experience

Get your bearings during your first year at Dominican with this handy guide.

Planning Out Your Work

Think about ALL your tasks. We all have a lot to do both for school and in our personal lives. When creating a plan for your work, include personal tasks like chores with your schoolwork so you know how to go about your day(s) handling both.


Think about urgency and importance. If a task has to be done now, and/or is very important and weighs a lot for your success in your class (such as an assignment worth a lot of points), it should be set at a higher priority than other tasks on your to-do list.


Divide tasks by how soon they need to be done. Split your tasks into three levels of prioritization: Complete Now, Complete Next, Complete After. Add clear dates or time periods to these levels. That way you have a clear path to follow on what to finish instead of being overwhelmed by a pile of tasks.

Course Work Management

Attending college is a tremendous task that requires a lot of focus and dedication. Balancing class content and assignments can feel overwhelming at times, but planning ahead will make it so handling any amount of course work can be prepared for. Here are some essential tips to staying on top of your classes here at Dominican.

How to Stay On Top of Your Work

 Take notes.

When absorbing new information, note-taking greatly increases your ability to retain information besides just listening to it. Don’t just rely on slides and handouts from your instructor! Taking notes on either a computer device or by hand is a great way to learn and recall your coursework better.


 Stay organized. 

Organizing your notes will make them easier to use when you need to study. Often when note-taking, they can be quickly written without thought of formatting. That's normal! Your focus is taken up on writing down new information. But that also means it can be very worthwhile to take the time to look through your notes after class and rearrange them to be easier to reference when you need them for an assignment later.


 Plan enough time.

Whether in person or online, classes will take time to attend, read and/or watch and then take more time to complete homework related to the course.  Always be ready to invest hours of work for every assignment, big or small.


 Start planning your time early in the semester. 

The earlier you start managing your time, the easier it is. Get into good habits early so you don’t fall behind. And if you do fall behind, don't beat yourself up about it. Look at what you can control and keeping planning: find where in your schedule can you make up your work and get back on track. 


 Start assignments early.

Aim to start at least two weeks before the due date. Yes, two whole weeks! This will give time to introduce yourself to the assignment, attempt it, and revise it to be something complete and comprehensive while you’re in a focused and relaxed state. Give yourself enough time to complete your assignment properly will save you a lot of stress that could effect the quality of your work.


 Spread out the work.

There's no need to panic over what can seem like a daunting task. Take your big assignment and think about splitting it into smaller chunks, then tackle it bit-by-bit overtime. Spreading your work out instead of doing it all at the last minute helps you complete your work more comprehensively while taking worry off your shoulders. Don't study in long streams of time without breaks. Taking small breaks every hour or so helps your brain better retain what you're studying. 


 Buddy up!

Bouncing questions and ideas of classes with fellow classmates greatly increases your ability to understand and learn class content. Creating regular study sessions with classmates helps keep study motivation and habits regular, productive and a more positive experience. 


 Take advantage of tutors.

Sometimes despite our best efforts, we just need some help in specific subjects outside of class. And that’s okay! Looking into Dominican’s toturing options and other resources can set you on the way to better understanding your course through a helping hand.


 Use the Library.

The library can become an essential part of your study routine: physically you can use the space as a study room to help set your mind into “work mode.” Seeing other students work in the library can help inspire you to work on your coursework as well. 


Attribution note: icons sourced from flaticon.com.

Effective Note Taking

So you know that note-taking can help you retain what you learn in your classes better, but how do you take notes? Well, there's a few things to keep in mind:

  • Taking notes on a laptop or computer device is proven to be faster, but it may surprise you to know that students who took notes by hand, though they wrote less, were able to recall their lessons from memory better!
  • This is because instead of copying their professors word-per-word, they wrote the new information in their own words to save time. So if you're going to type away your notes, just remember: it's more important that you're both listening to your professors but conceptualizing it in your own way. This makes the information stick.