The temptation to eke out one last week of summer vacation during syllabus week is often hard to ignore. When the only assignments are seemingly small, insignificant collections of busy work, it’s easy to blow them off and swear to start digging in during week two.
Ignore that urge, Bobcats.
Syllabus week, though light on work and of mild intensity, provides us all an opportunity to get back into the swing of things when the stakes are still small. Beginning this way only sets a precedent for the rest of the semester that blowing off the things that seem unimportant is okay. It’s an easy pattern to fall into, and an even easier bad habit to create. Soon enough, more and more assignments will start seeming unimportant, and by the end of the semester you’ll be furiously calculating assignment scores to see if you’ll squeak by with just enough points to pass the class.
Don’t do that to yourself. You’ll already be stressed out enough during finals, and the added fear of having to repeat classes because you missed too many points isn’t going to help you pass those tests or write those papers.
Even more important, though, is that syllabus week provides your professors with their first impression of you. If that is one of someone who blows off easy assignments, they’re not going to want to help you out later in the semester should you need it. If you can’t be bothered to complete a dozen pages of reading, write a one-page reflection or do a half-dozen practice problems, why should they bother themselves with caring about your needs? That means less chance of deadline extensions when you need it, less leniency when it comes to missing class during high-stress times in the semester and an overall soured image of you as a student.
Ultimately, syllabus week is there to help you establish patterns and habits that will help you out when the semester gets harder. If you don’t create a foundation of consistency and hard work right now when the going is easy, you won’t be able to do it later on when you really need to, during midterms and finals.
The majority of us don’t want to spend all of dead week and finals hunched over in the library frantically jamming a semester’s worth of content into our brains because we failed to do our due diligence.
Love yourself, start working now.