I should preface this by saying that you should take all of this advice with a grain of salt. After all, do any of us really know what we’re talking about? Feel free to take any advice that works for you and to leave out the stuff that feels wishy-washy, too corny, or just not “you.”
That being said, here are my 4 tips for surviving (and thriving!) in the gateway course:
1) STAY ON TOP OF IT. There is more due in this class than you think. There are little writing assignments to do on top of reading on top of bigger papers on top of smaller papers. The deadlines for this class are pretty flexible, so just try to keep up with updated deadlines as they come and to maintain some sort of calendar so that you know what is due and when.
2) LOOK AHEAD. I’m a musical theatre major, and I knew going into this that I’d be in rehearsals for THE LITTLE MERMAID starting from spring break onwards. I tried to front-load some of the work that I had to do (especially with the bigger projects in the course). You can do this by working on your e-Portfolio regularly and just being aware of deadlines so you aren’t in over your head (see #1).
3) READ! I can’t think of a better piece of advice to improve your writing than this. I confess that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read for fun, but still. Read as much as you can. Read blogs, read books, read newspapers, read magazines, read pieces published on online platforms. Do what you can to understand the different formats and styles you are writing for. I am working on this every day. Also: commit to knowing and using correct grammar!!!! Notice grammatical structures as you read! Employ them wisely! (Can you tell this is my pet peeve?)
4) USE YOUR COMMUNITY. Your teachers and your classmates are here for you. I wish I’d had more time to really apply this one tip to my own time in the gateway course. The people around you will you be your resources if you let them. Befriend them! Start a GroupMe! Go to Ben & Jerry’s together!
I hope some of these tips prove even the slightest bit useful. I remember reading these advice posts just three short months ago and wondering if I’d ever survive the gateway course. And I made it! You can — and will — too 🙂