Overcome the hurdle that is “Work Forest”

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Dennis Balogh/Akron Beacon Journal/MCT

Chris Caswell

“Work Forest”: two words you’ll hear a lot over the next four years. You definitely heard at some point on your tour that your workload will be challenging — at least you should have.

It may not be a novel warning, but it all comes down to time management. Some classes you take will be easier than others and some classes will be more interesting than others, but if you make good use of your time, you can have good grades and a social life without losing your mind.

The most important thing I learned last year is that there is always something going on, and there will always be distractions.

Despite that, when you study, be sure to actually study. Don’t check your email, watch TV or chat with your friends while you work. That can make studying in your room difficult. If you feel yourself getting distracted, try going to one of the top floors of the library.

The seventh and eighth floors have individual workspaces that limit distractions. The intense silence on those two floors also helps to keep you focused.

You also learn quickly at Wake Forest that a change of scenery is important to staying focused and at your best. Working only in your room can get boring pretty quickly, so try finding different places to study. Places like the New Pit, Farrell Hall and Reynolda may offer the fresh view you need to be productive.

Secondly, plan your time. If you carve out a certain time to study beforehand, whatever you’re working on will seem less overwhelming, you won’t feel guilty about doing something with friends before or after and you will be prepared for whatever you’re working on. If you decide to study with friends, make sure you’re actually working and not just talking.

Chatting with friends while you work is fun, but afterwards, you’ll realize you got almost nothing done.

My next piece of advice sounds counter-intuitive, but to succeed in your classes, makes sure you get involved in things outside of the classroom.

One of the hardest things about college is balancing your time. You won’t earn good grades if you just have fun, but conversely, if all you do is work, college will seem like torture.

Also, it’s hard to sit down for six hours straight and study. If you get involved in other activities between your work — like club sports, a service organization or, say, the school newspaper — it makes it easier to remain focused while you are working.

Another  piece of advice I would offer to manage the work load at Wake Forest is to take advantage of the many resources the university has to offer.

Your best resources are your professors. Even if you do not have a test coming up, it is a good idea to check in with your professors often.

Professors hold regular office hours, so you can cement your understanding of a concept and seek help as you go; it certainly makes it easier to go in for help regularly rather than panic the night before. It also just looks good in your professors’ eyes when you take the initative to show up at office hours.

The Math Center is another great resource that you should take advantage of. They have study sessions before tests for many different classes and offer one-on-one tutoring for free.

It helps to make an appointment a few days before, but you can also just show up. If a tutor is available, they’ll help you.

English and writing classes have a similar resource. The Writing Center, in the library, will help you plan, write papers and edit papers for free. Though Wake Forest has the reputation of having hard classes, the many resources such as office hours and the Math and Writing Centers  help a lot.

Adjusting to the course work and the greater responsibility of managing your time in college can be overwhelming, but look on the bright side: “Work Forest” looks great on a T-shirt. Welcome to your new home, class of 2019 — Work Forest is a name you will soon be proud to own!