After being out of college for just over 12 months I find myself still thinking of late summer as the eve of a new school year. Beginning any new phase of life, whether it’s a new school year or a job, it helps to have the right attitude.

Become (and Remain) Focused

Trying things you’ve never done before is an integral part of being successful in college and making the most out of your academic career. As with all resolutions, it’s easy to envision what you want to accomplish and how, but doing and envisioning are often two very different things.

The year may start off with you putting your smartly devised scheme into action and reaping its benefits. But all too soon the perfect routine becomes a hindrance and skipping out on what it takes to make it work becomes the norm. Before you know it, there go your resolutions!

After you decide what it is that you want to accomplish, stick to it no matter how many bumps occur along the way. After a while, being disciplined, hopefully, will become a way of life.

Network Like Crazy

Expand your comfort zone by meeting as many different people as possible. I never realized how easy it is – in comparison to the real world, that is – to meet people.

Typically life after college becomes segmented. The people at work do not dabble with your family or your friends. So in many ways you become split among different realms. Whereas in school, not only can you meet people through class, parties and activities, but you can introduce people that would ordinarily not cross paths. It’s a small world, and you never know how the relationships you forge in college can impact your life later on.

Do Well Academically

There is a wide range of opinion on the relevance of grades. I can remember times that professors would remind my fellow classmates and me that our grades was no indication of our self worth or potential on future exams. And while there’s no doubt that they were right, it’s important to know that doing well academically not only looks good on a resume and is highly regarded by graduate schools, but it puts you in a position of confidence.

Good grades also opens up many opportunities. Some internships, jobs and scholarships will not consider your application if your GPA is under a certain standard.

For first- and second-year students this coming school year is somewhat of a blank slate where getting good grades could give you the boost that you need to remain at the top academically. For juniors and seniors that have not done well in past semesters, doing well now may not help you out as much, but don’t be discouraged because improvement (especially if you can maintain it throughout the year) is crucial and will still enable you to proudly apply for internships, jobs and even scholarships, with the chance to show potential employers and admission committees your capabilities.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When one door closes, a thousand more open. Don’t spend time thinking about what you “should-a-would-a-could-a” done to get an A on that exam or dwell on not getting into an elective. Learn to bounce back quickly from mistakes and failures so you can go on to achieve the rest of your goals (or discover important goals you never knew you could attain). Remember, as long as you try your best at everything that comes your way, you can rest assured that whatever happens is for the best and continue to press forward.

Let Bygones Be Bygones

Before heading back to the wonders of academia, know this: Leave the good, the bad and the ugly that happened during previous semesters right where they belong – in the past! Forgive yourself of all grievances and use this coming school year as a time to excel.