To the fresh faces, and those of us returning for another year, the start of the school semester means one thing– lots of changes. At first, we’re all filled with that refreshing feeling of the new semester, a clean slate set in front of us beside new art supplies ready to get it messy again. But for many of us, the summer attitude lingers a few weeks into school. We sit back and enjoy syllabus week as we watch the slates multiply, and the supplies remain untouched…okay, so it’s a bit of an exaggerated metaphor, but you get where i’m going with this. School doesn’t really start until the pressure of deadlines begins to kick-in, right?
WRONG. Those of us returning students know that school really does begin the first day of classes (and so does the work-load). The professors expect that you are prepared to make things starting day one, so here are my tips and tricks to surviving and thriving during the first month of Parsons.
First, read and re-read the syllabus for each of your classes. Most professors will send out the syllabus a week in advance if not give you a hard copy the first day of class so take advantage of this, it’s a timeline, use it as a guide to balance your work and become a master of time management early on. Not only will the syllabus outline for you all the supplies you’ll need for the semester, but also, the first day of class. There’s nothing worse then being the only one, unprepared the first day of classes– but fear not, the syllabus was built to prevent that. *NOTE* the syllabus is not foolproof, often times professors will make amendments to the schedule they have mapped out in the syllabus, so It doesn’t hurt to bring it with you to each class, or to buy an agenda planner to make notes to yourself of changed deadlines, or new projects, etc.
The next thing you’ll want to do is compare syllabi. Having an idea when your deadlines are due is important, but it’s even more important when you have deadlines that are conflicting. The professors do try to work together to make sure major assignments are not due the same week, but sometimes when you have classes across different departments it can’t be prevented, so be sure you get on top of the work load early on as to not be crunched with two deadlines back to back and not enough time to give them equal care and effort.
As a general rule, you can assume that major project deadlines happen every three to four weeks, so take a look at your personal schedule and make sure out of city appointments or weekends home don’t fall the weekend before a major deadline (or final exams for that matter)– this time is precious as to make sure that everything is in place for your presentations and/or use this crunch time to make sure the finishing touches are as finished as possible. That being said, many of the schools tools and facilities also run on a tight organized schedule, so if you know you’re going to need to borrow a camera next week to film a project, or you need the laser cutter for a main detail of your project, book appointments/rentals in advance, because often times when you look last minute the facilities may already be in use.
Finally, the key tip is to really just stay on top of the work. Working on projects little by little is not only efficient, but a much more positive creative experience. We go to Parsons because we enjoy the work we do, there’s no sense in becoming stressed over what can easily be avoided with planning, preparing, and gradual progress. With these tips and tricks, there’s no bringing you down– You’ve got this.