Why “Syllabus Week” Isn’t a Blow Off Week

You’ve probably heard experienced college students talk about how awesome syllabus week is when they first get back to campus.

Sure, it is a chill week when professors hand out their syllabi, talk about class expectations and the books you need to buy, and class gets out 20 minutes early because there’s nothing else to do.

But for many reasons, syllabus week is one of the most important weeks of the semester!

The rumors aren’t true! Syllabus week is not just an extension of winter break – full of parties, relaxation, and catching up with friends.

While it may not be your toughest week of the semester, as I enter my second semester of college at the University of Illinois, I now understand why syllabus week has a significant impact on a student’s performance for the rest of the semester.

Here are some good reasons to shake your head the next time a college student refers to syllabus week as a slacker’s paradise.

    • It’s your opportunity to get a feel for the class and decide if it’s for you or not. Perhaps you had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you signed up for that biology class, and after looking at the syllabus and hearing from the professor, you decide that this semester isn’t the best time for you to be taking such a difficult class. Now, you have plenty of time to drop the course, without any guilt or penalty.
    • It allows you to establish new relationships with teachers, classmates, etc. When else will your professor be this open to getting to know you, and vice versa? Your fellow classmates will also be dying to know at least one person in the class, and you should feel the same. Even if you get to know just one person, you could be making your life a ton easier come finals week, when you’re looking for someone to study with.
    • When you know what the class is going to be like, you’ll be a whole lot more confident over the semester! Classes vary. Even small things, like exam policies and the grading scale could completely change your performance in the class if you aren’t familiar with them. Simply being acquainted with what the expectations of the class are will keep you motivated throughout the semester!
    • Syllabus week gives you plenty of time to get to know the syllabus. Be familiar with the syllabus, because you WILL need information from it later. Ask anyone, there is nothing more embarrassing than asking your professor a question, and having them direct you straight to the syllabus for the answer. Keep in mind that your teacher wrote the syllabus for the purpose of keeping you informed, and saving themselves some time when everyone has the same question.

Think of it as a free ticket to knowing what will be happening in class at all times, practically ensuring that you will do well this semester!

Unfortunately I’m speaking from personal experience when I say that some of the super generous professors even include information from the syllabus on exams!

With all of this in mind, you are almost guaranteed to start the semester off with the right mindset! Granted, I am not advising you to be on super-stress mode during syllabus week, but just remember how vital it can be for you and your grades!

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Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor is a freshman at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in Spanish. She comes from a small farm town of 1,000 in West-Central Illinois, making the transition to a large campus challenging. At school Kaitlyn is involved with the University’s Women Glee Choir, and also sings in her Church choir and is involved with her residence hall’s Resident Board. She enjoys writing, biking, and volunteering.
Kaitlyn Taylor

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