New Semester, New Beginnings

Evelyn Ryozaki is an academic counselor at Cerritos College.

As traffic for fall registration and enrollment becomes heavier, I am reminded of my own experiences with fall semester beginnings. The more I was able to take care of concerns and prepare for the start of classes, the better off I was once they began. Being prepared allowed me to focus from the very beginning on course requirements. Unlike some of my friends, I was not frantically searching for last minute add on classes, or standing in line at the bookstore, or at the parking office, or showing up to the first class meeting hoping someone else would not show up, or worse yet waiting to see a counselor. Granted, I was not perfectly prepared every semester, but this is what I strove for because I am a person who is not good at multi-tasking, splitting my energy ten different directions when starting a new set of classes. I needed to focus, so I used my enrollment appointment the minute I could get into the system. I bought my books and supplies a week before classes began, followed up with any outstanding fee payments, labeled and organized my notebooks, filled in my planner, cleaned out my car and my purse, got my hair cut, scheduled all my dentist appointments, etc.

My college was on the quarter system, 10 week terms, and once classes began, it was a sprint to the finish line and finals. Anticipating and taking care of the details that might side track me from course assignments that began the minute classes started helped me to focus and keep up with my classes. When I did not plan so well, I know I vowed that the following term would be different, and I would take care to plan ahead! So for anyone caught unprepared now, be sure that you make a list of issues now while they are “hot” on your mind that need to be taken care of prior to the start of next term. Put a reasonable deadline date on each and follow through so that if you are not so well prepared this semester, you will certainly be next semester. Coach John Wooden was an educator I admired who passed away this summer. One of his pearls of wisdom is, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Allow yourself to be successful by preparing as much as you can. Be ready to work hard and focus your efforts on the path you’ve chosen. — Evelyn

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2 Responses to New Semester, New Beginnings

  1. Courtney Canlas says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    Your post seems really inspiring. I’m surprise you have that mindset to get everything done before its’ deadline. I feel encourage to follow your steps but lately I’ve been stress. I enrolled in Cerritos College to become a Physical Therapy Assistant but it happened that I enrolled later in the summer and got only a few classes. I’m satisfied of the classes I’m taking but I’m scared it will take me longer to finish. I do believe your words of wisdom “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” I can guarantee if I don’t push myself for the effort that’s needed, I won’t get very far.
    Your blog really gave me a wake-up call because education now is not like high school, not like elementary… I’M PAYING FOR MY EDUCATION and it’s my responsibility to make the money worth. I do hope next semester I will take the average amount of classes to reach my career goal.

  2. Suzy says:

    Hello Evelyn ,
    i have to say i really admire your way of thinking . it’s always better to be prepared than be in a big rush later . i actually am one of those people that get ready late and I’m not pround of it . My first semester in Cerritos College was out of look since i wasnt prepared therefore bearly got the classes i needed . Now that i read your blog i understand the importance of starting out early and leaving the fun and games in the past since this is college not high school .
    In my case it may be a little harder since i have work and always have to get home to clean and cook for my brothers . i believe lifes full of decisions and according to your blog , we decide whether we prepare ourselfs late and struggle the rest of the semester or just get ready in time to pass the year nice and smooth . -Suzy

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