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Back from break: A primer on the first week of classes

Spring semester classes for undergraduate and graduate students begin Monday. Here’s a rundown for students on important dates regarding “I Am Here” registration, campus recreation, and big events happening this week, along with tips on making the transition from winter-break mode back to the classroom.

Important dates and your classes

Tuesday is the last day of online “I Am Here” registration for spring classes. Spring class registrations will be dropped at 4 p.m. that day for students who do not participate in “I Am Here” or clear registration holds. Feb. 1 is the last day for undergraduates and graduates to drop a spring class without a “W” grade. Log into myNEU for these services.

Campus recreation

Renovations to improve user experience at the Marino Center, including new air conditioning and heating systems and the replacement of the free weight room floor, are now complete. Both Marino and the Badger and Rosen Center are open a collective 250 hours a week for optimum exercise opportunities. We caught up with Pamela Wetherbee-Metcalf, senior associate athletic director for campus recreation and club sports, who offered tips on how to avoid large crowds at the gym.

If you are interested in intramurals this semester, registration opens Monday at 9 a.m. and closes Jan. 20 at 3 p.m.

Welcome, new students!

It’s Welcome Week for many new students on campus, and there is a range of events planned—Monday, for example, includes the Spring ResHall Carnival (3-6 p.m. in the Curry Student Center Indoor Quad) and Fraternity and Sorority Life 101 (7-8 p.m., Curry Student Center West Addition). Here’s the full list of Welcome Week events.

Other big events this week

A number of informative events are taking place this week to kick off the new semester.

The Winter Involvement Fair is on Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Curry Student Center. Registration for student groups interested in running an information table at the fair is now closed, but there is a wait list.

The first Myra Kraft Open Classroom of spring 2016 is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 13. The title this semester is “Shaping Boston’s Future: Aspirations, Opportunities, and Challenges,” and the first session will focus on Imagine Boston 2030. The classroom will be held on Wednesday nights and topics include imagining Boston’s future, the innovation economy, transportation, housing, and sustainability.

Students considering a global co-op should check out the Global Co-op Networking Fair on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Curry Student Center Indoor Quad.

Where and when to eat

All on-campus eateries will return to regular hours of operation starting Monday. Here is a complete schedule.

Library resources

University Libraries will be hosting a welcome table in the Snell Library lobby throughout the week where students can learn about a variety of resources and technology services, including the Digital Media Commons and 3-D Printing Studio. The information table will be open during the following hours: Monday 10 a.m. to noon; Tuesday 2-4 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Friday 10 a.m. to noon.

Tips on adjusting back to the classroom

Rick Arrowood, associate teaching professor, CPS

Rick Arrowood, associate teaching professor, CPS

“Balancing life and school can be a challenge, especially when returning from a long holiday break,” says Rick Arrowood, associate teaching professor in the College of Professional Studies. “Even more, reigniting your passion sometimes can prove stressful when faced with transitioning from a laissez-faire attitude to energetic engagement in your upcoming course work.” Here, Arrowood offers tips to kick-start your return to learning:

1) Give yourself permission to learn. Affirmations for your short-term and long-term goals are crucial to your path to successful learning, yet this is often overlooked or devalued. I recommend before the course begins that you re-affirm why you are pursuing this course or particular program.

2) Hold yourself accountable. Realizing that you are the primary ‘driver’ to your success, it’s important to keep yourself accountable for completing assignments and other course tasks on time. I’ve learned to handle things only once; that is, determine what needs to be completed, put it in your calendar, and complete it.

3) Think about your intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. What do you already know—or think you know—about creating your learning environment? What support team do you currently have or need to be a successful student? What plans have you made to connect and engage with others in your class? Ask yourself what gets you up in the morning. Do I have a positive learning mindset that I will learn today what I did not know yesterday? Have I positioned my day, week, and month to manage my time effectively? It’s also important to identify extrinsic factors that can support or detract from your learning. Family, friends, and pets can go a long way to supporting you, but can also just as easily detract from your learning.

4) Ask for help. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your educational goals. It’s important—particularly if you are an online student or new to campus—to create a support network of classmates and instructors. Also, don’t be afraid—help is just a click away. Sure, some students are fearful of reaching out for help and I understand that. The good news is that instructors overwhelmingly prefer hearing directly from you, learning how they can help you, and working with you to chart a course of success.

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