by Andrea Judy
The start of the semester can be a stressful time for students, but Perry Binder, associate professor of risk management and insurance at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, is happy to help. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a new semester,” Binder says, however, he’s spent a lot of time working on ways to help students conquer those nerves and excel.
Binder’s book, 99 Motivators for College Success, recently was sent to all incoming freshmen by the Randolph College Admissions Office to motivate them to succeed. He wrote the book to compile his experiences as a student and as a professor into a helpful guide that gives students tips for classes, studying, and life.
Binder also has spoken with the Georgia State high school leadership academy for the past two summers and posts blogs to motivate college students on his website.
To start the fall 2016 semester off on the right foot, here are 10 tips from Perry Binder.
- Don’t be intimidated by your professor. “It is easy to get overwhelmed by how much knowledge your professors have, but they are there to help you. Talk to them,” Binder advises.
- Make friends in every class. Most students have at least one or two days they miss a class and having a friend to share notes with can help keep you on track. It also helps make the classes more fun and gives you a study partner.
- Have a sense of humor. “Not just in college, but in life, I find a sense of humor is vital,” Binder says. He encourages everyone to take time to find more things to laugh about in and out of the classroom.
- Don’t give up on your dreams. “When I was in the third grade I said I wanted to be a basketball player and my teacher told me that would never happen,” Binder says. “It made an impact, but I didn’t give up. And then when I was 25 years old, I met the great Dr. J, and I got to play one-on-one with 7’4” center Mark Eaton of the Utah Jazz, that year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year.”
- Always be thinking ahead. Find ways to look ahead. Take the skills you’re learning in a part-time job and see how they apply to your future. Learn new skills that will benefit you when you leave college.
- Study abroad if you can. Getting out of your own culture and seeing the world makes a huge and lasting impression. There are scholarship options to help with the cost and studying abroad is one of the best ways to get international experience while still in school.
- Learn your strengths. “Most people already know what their weaknesses are, so take the time to learn your strengths,” Binder says. Rather than focusing on what you aren’t good at, learn what you excel at and how to use those abilities.
- Remember you’re at the beginning of your career arc. It’s easy to get caught up in college and get overwhelmed with preparing for the future, but college represents the beginning of your professional arc. There is no rush to do everything before you graduate; you are just starting out.
- Create deadlines for longer-term projects. If you have a large project due at the end of the semester, don’t wait to start on it. Plan out personal deadlines for having a draft done and give yourself time to finish up without any all-nighters.
- No matter how boring or stressful the day is, find something fun in learning something new. Everyone has bad days or classes that don’t hold his or her interest, but there are ways to make them fun. “Learning to find the fun is an important life skill,” Binder says.
While the start of the semester can be stressful for many students, Binder’s tips are a great start to make your time in college a huge success.