Travel the Road to College Success

30 Aug

The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. –Vince Lombardi

Coming back from summer is extremely hard. I mean, who doesn’t love being home, waking up at noon, and most importantly, not having to read three chapters for each class?


Obviously, life-changing trips where you were busy cliff-jumping or getting lost in an unknown city, make transitioning to alarm-clock wake-ups, and monotonous traffic jams even more difficult.

I hate to break the bad news, but summer is over, despite the fact that it’s still one hundred degrees in Tucson. It’s the perfect time, though, to find ways to maximize our energy in school and set ourselves up for success.

Recalling freshman year, I was anxious and excited to start. However, it was really hard to get back into the groove. (No, not like The Emperor’s New Groove). As a senior now, I have been able to try different strategies to maximize the time I can dedicate to school, clubs, and work, while still being successful in school.

One of the things that I am really good at is checking my email and course Web sites on Desire to Learn (D2L).

d2l screenshot

I would highly recommend that this is checked every day. Professors use the news section of D2L to make announcements like a cancelled class, an assignment’s date-change, and any altered homework. Then, when you walk into class, they expect you to know everything! (Unless, of course, your class is cancelled. If you don’t check D2L, you won’t know that no one will arrive to class except you).

Things can get crazy!


Time management is extremely important in determining success. My first semester, I didn’t really plan ahead for anything, and worked on a lot of assignments last minute (which is not at all what you should be doing). If you have a planner (if not, you can use Google calendar), be sure to add all major dates for papers and exams from each class. You can find this information on the course’s syllabus, or unit schedule. If you joined any clubs, you should also add important events. By doing this ahead of time, you will know when you will be the busiest, and you won’t feel overwhelmed. Better yet, assignments won’t catch you off guard.

I also think that it is extremely important to keep a balance of school and social life. Have fun!


Go to the movies with friends (make sure you show your CatCard to get the student discount), get Starbucks, or watch our Wildcats in various sports. Last year, UA’s own Brigetta Barrett (Track and Field) won the 2013 Pac-12 Woman of the Year! The options are endless, but like I’ve mentioned before, manage your time. Hanging out with friends is always an option, finishing and turning in that important homework assignment is not.

Maintaining a balance is also important for your mental health; I don’t want you to be unhealthy. If we don’t manage an equal balance between our social and academic life, we may start missing classes due to illness or stress.  No one wants that.

With all of this said, setting yourself up for success is a long, but attainable road. We won’t always get it right the first time, or even the second. The most important thing to remember is persistence. Keep your eyes on the prize. Many times, we might feel like the finish line is so far away, but it’s important to take a step back and see how much progress has been made.

Starting these habits your freshman year will help you navigate the road. This way, by your senior year, you will know all of the dips and turns, all of the detours and, of course the scenic vistas, on your journey to success at the University of Arizona.


–Veronica Atondo

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