The students at the top of the class get there because they plan weeks ahead, consistently budgeting time for serious, concentrated work.
The key to academic achievement is time-management.
You've probably already heard the magic formula: study for a minimum of 2-3 hours per every hour of class time. Consider fifteen hours in the classroom each week, plus another 30-45 hours of homework. With all your other commitments -- work, practice, family, friends, sleep -- you'll need to make every spare hour count.
For your sanity and health, you might decide to take a late penalty now and then, and you might be tempted to skip minor assignments. I certainly did, once in a while. So, if you have to put some other obligation ahead of my class, I won't take it personally.
In fact, I'll be happy to help you weigh the consequences and prioritize accordingly. All I ask is that you come to me before you start missing those due dates.
As your professor, I feel privileged to be here, for this part of your college journey. (Contact me.)
In College, All Work Is Optional
You've chosen to be where you are, at this school. I hope that your commitment extends to good attendance, good participation, and meeting deadlines.
I hope that, through assignments and e-mails and encounters in the hallways or encounters online, you'll share your triumphs and frustrations, not only in the classroom but also the concert hall or the playing field or at home or on your daily commute, and that together we can figure out how to draw on all these experiences, to challenge and enlighten you, to benefit your mind and character, body and soul.
Remember that lots of people have already put their faith in you, and lots of services are available here to help you meet your potential. (Before you get too busy with schoolwork, take the time to explore those resources.)Use Your Stress
A writing course generally gives you leeway to choose your own topic. If you're feeling overwhelmed, or you miss someone back home, or you're considering the pros and cons of changing your major, write about it.
Once you find the right form, you might be surprised at the sense of control that comes from articulating a problem and exploring potential solutions.