Stomping the Yard

Stomping the Yard: Your Guide to a Successful Semester

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If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, “Already?” “Where did the time go?”  It seems like only yesterday we were unwrapping gifts, enjoying downtime with family friends, and talking about our plans for the New Year. Well, the New Year is here!

Kick things off right by setting yourself up for success. Don’t dwell on the past. Whatever happened last semester is in the books; and there is nothing you can do but learn from it, and move on. You can jumpstart your return to classes and have a successful semester by:

1)   Moving to the FRONT of the Class: Studies have shown that students that sit near the front of the class perform better than those who opt for the back row. Sitting up front allows more interaction, greater focus and accountability, whereas the back of the room is full of temptation and distractions like texting and talking. Sitting in the front of the class also increases the chances of the teacher remembering you favorably, at the end of the semester, when grades are due.

2)   Do Your Homework AT SCHOOL: College students have the greatest intentions when it comes to staying focused and getting their work done, but once students leave campus, all bets are off. Off campus, students are contending with friends, frat brothers, work, video game consoles, boyfriends, and “baes”… Build time into your schedule to stay longer on campus where you can access learning centers, math tutors, libraries, computer labs, and other resources to help you stay on track.

3)   Schedule Classes When You are MOST Productive: If you are not a morning person, don’t schedule early morning classes. Many students are drawn in by the allure of finishing classes before noon, but find themselves with poor attendance, late arrivals or failing grades. Choose your class schedule during times when you have the most energy and are most likely to be focused and engaged. Being consistently absent or coming late to class leaves with little to no negotiating power when you need your professor to be a little lenient or grant you an extension on assignments.

4)   Don’t overload your schedule: 12 semester hours is considered full-time status at most colleges. The average college student takes on an average of 14 hours. Yet, every semester I run across a handful of students who bite off much more than they can chew by taking 18-21 hours in a single semester. This is a recipe for disaster. Each class requires at least 2 hours of out-of-class study time per week. With an overloaded schedule, there is little time for sleep, let alone effective study. If you need the extra hours consider a shorter, weekend class, or take the extra hours during summer instead.

5)   Plan to Participate: If there’s one person you want to impress this semester, it’s your professor. In a few short months, students will be clamoring for caps and gowns. And they will also be in need of recommendation letters and referrals for jobs and scholarships. Participating in class, showing you’ve read the material, adding to the discussion, and being prepared to answer questions will go a long way with your instructors.

You can’t change the past, but you can certainly shape the future. It’s a new year. That means you have a brand new opportunity to become the most amazing version of yourself possible, and set a new standard of excellence.


Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on FacebookYouTube and Twitter.