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Take 5: Tips for returning to the classroom

12/04/14 -- Boston, MA. -- A student studies during Reading Day in Snell Library at Northeastern University on December 4, 2014. Staff Photo by Matthew Modoono

Spring semester classes begin on Monday. Here are five tips to kick-start your return to the classroom, with insight from fellow students and co-op coordinators in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Have a marathon runner’s mentality

Class, like co-op, is a marathon, not a sprint, according to co-op coordinator Linnea Basu. “Your hard work, time management, organization, and motivation need to go the distance for the entire semester, not just the beginning and end.”

Be punctual and meticulous

Arrive to class early or on time, just as you did on co-op, says co-op coordinator Michelle Zaff, and make sure that you have a strong understanding of your professors’ expectations for every single assignment. “Taking this approach can help students get the most out of their classes and maintain the strong work habits they have cultivated on co-op.”

Update your resumé

Update your resumé during the transition from co-op to classes, says co-op coordinator Joani LaMachia, and then review the updated version with your co-op advisor. “It’s best to do this while the experience is still fresh in your mind in order to fully capture and articulate the new skills, habits of mind, and knowledge that you developed while on co-op,” she notes. “The review process provides an opportunity for you and your co-op advisor to talk together to deconstruct the learning experience and make connections to your academic coursework.”

Rework your calendar to reflect the shift from co-op to class

Plan your social life around class deadlines, says Made­line Seibert, SSH’17, a Schwartzman scholar who has completed three co-ops, and be sure to give yourself enough time to complete your assignments. “It also helps to surround yourself with other students who are in classes and successfully managing their own workloads.”

Integrate your co-op experience into your academic life

Build on what you learned on co-op by connecting with faculty members who are conducting research in the field in which you worked, says Seibert, who employed this strategy to perfection. “While I was on my last co-op, I connected with a professor and applied for research funding from Northeastern to work on a project in my free time,” she explains. “I benefited from his mentorship and the resources at my co-op and eventually turned that research into my capstone project.”

Adds co-op coordinator Lisa Worsh: “Tailor your classes—and extra curricular activities—to reflect your interest in the things at work that were challenging and rewarding and build your skill set.”

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