Student-submitted strategies for scholarly success

Student-submitted strategies for scholarly success

By Emily Chang

Video by Griffin Giboney and TJ Ramirez

Whether this is your first-ever semester on campus or just your first time back in a while, you might find some use in these tips on navigating the college experience at CI. With the closing of campus at the start of the pandemic and the transition to majority online classes, many students have not had the opportunity to step foot on campus until this semester. Learning how things work on a college campus can be challenging, but students have begun developing and sharing their strategies for success. 

The first hurdle most students face when arriving on campus is the predicament of parking. Kailey Cook, a senior biology student, suggested, “Take into consideration how long it may take to walk from your car to class if the front lots are full. I give myself about 10 minutes extra to walk to class, on top of how long the drive may be.” 

If you are planning your commute and are unsure of which lots are closest to your class buildings, the goCI app, available for iOS and Android devices, has a “Maps” feature which shows the names of buildings and all “A” lots in which students can park. Cook added, “I’d recommend buying a parking pass at the beginning of the semester because it will save you money and time.” 

After crossing your fingers and finding a parking spot, you can head to class. Cook noted her class essentials as “some sort of agenda book, class notebooks, pens and pencils, a calculator, water and a laptop if possible.” Ximena Forero, a second-year pre-nursing major, listed “a laptop or an iPad … also snacks, especially if you have a long day of classes,” as her top items to bring.   

If the resources are available to you, transitioning to digital notes with a laptop or tablet can be beneficial. This helps cut down on paper use and physical clutter, as well giving you the ability to create multimedia notes where you can write, draw, type and paste images. While a regular agenda book is more than adequate, there are also a variety of available apps that can help you stay organized if you choose the digital route. You can find a list of free study and organization apps on our website at the following link:

In terms of staying organized, Cook said, “My top organization tip for college would be (this). Every Sunday, check your upcoming weekly assignments and write down the due dates in your agenda book. Then, take into consideration the days you will be working, spending time with friends and family or taking care of pets or house chores. Try to assign each day which assignments you should be working on … managing your assignments with a schedule greatly reduces stress.” Forero’s top organization tip is “using a planner or setting reminders for due dates on (your) phone.” Delegating tasks and being on top of deadlines spreads out your workload and lessens the stress of accidentally forgetting a due date or test day. 

Outside of class, taking time to unwind is important, and exploring places on or near campus can provide much needed fun and relaxation. On-campus, Cook likes to eat in Town Center at places like the Tortillas Grill & Cantina. Forero likes the cafeteria because they have a great variety and cheaper options. She added, “I just hang out with friends on campus and get coffee, or (go to) the library to study.”  

John Spoor Broome Library has many designated study areas, and there are plenty of other spots to set down a blanket in the shade of places like Central Mall. Off-campus, Cook mentioned, “When I’m not in class or working, I enjoy going to the Camarillo Outlets, just down the street,” which has more options to eat, shop and even watch a movie. 

While the return to campus has been exciting, it has also undoubtedly been overwhelming for many. Cook emphasized the importance of time management: “Make time for the things that make you happy. It can be as little as grabbing a coffee or watching a movie!” Forero added, “Try your best and don’t stress if things don’t go your way. Eventually things will work out!”  

Balance and flexibility are two important things to keep in mind during this transition. Everybody is navigating their way through the unpredictable present, so never hesitate to take things slow and seek help from peers or CI resources like the Learning Resource Center. Good luck on your finals, Dolphins, and may the parking gods be on your side! 

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