Chapter 1: Starting Smart

Chapter 1 Activities & Resources

Key takeaways for review

  1. Explain why regular class attendance and active class participation are important.
  2. Make a list of effective strategies and actions to take in case you have to miss a class.
  3. Identify some resources that will help you transition to college.
  4. Make a list of MCC technology you feel confident using and another list of MCC technology you still need to master. Create a plan for learning one of those skills within the next week.
  5. Explain how to find college policies.
  6. What is your plan to remain safety conscious on campus and elsewhere? What specific, concrete actions will you take today? this week? this month?

Attending the first week of classes

1. What are some important things to do during the first week of the semester?

2.  Look at the course information sheet for one of your classes and answer the following questions:

  • How can you contact the course’s instructor?
  • What materials are required for the course? When will you have them?
  • Which course learning outcome do you think will be easiest to learn? Which one do you think will be most challenging? Why?

Applying the learning process

  • Review the learning process as described in this chapter.
  • Identify a class you are currently taking that requires studying.
  • Identify the stage of the learning process which you feel describes your current knowledge level in that class.

Interacting with your instructors

  1. The word instructor comes from the Latin word, struere, meaning build, construct. Make a list of ten ways in which you could take advantage of communicating with your instructor to help build and construct a powerful learning experience.
  2. Look through your course information sheets and identify an office hour that is convenient for you to attend because it doesn’t conflict with your other classes. Formulate a specific question to ask your instructor on your visit to his or her office. When you visit your professor, note the positives of your experience and be prepared to share with your peers.
  3. Pair up with one of your classmates and role-play a visit to one of your professor’s offices. Make sure you each have a turn as student and as professor. Consider performing your skit for the class or sharing any insights you gained from this experience.

Case studies

  1. Myeisha is a first-generation college student who just registered for courses at MCC yesterday. Her classes start tomorrow, and she’s not sure what to do or where to go first. What advice would you give to Myeisha to help her start smart?
  2. Kyle was excited to take a beginning Spanish class to prepare for a semester abroad in Spain. Before his first vocabulary quiz, he reviewed his notes many times. Kyle took the quiz, but when he got the results, he was surprised to see that he had earned a B-, despite having studied so much. What specific advice would you give to Kyle to help him increase his grade in Spanish class?

MCC technology support

To start the academic year smart, it’s important to activate your MCC email, log onto Brightspace, read and agree to the College’s course information sheet (CIS), and perform other tasks related to MCC technology. The College is here to support you through any issues you may experience logging on to its systems. Here is the contact information for the Student Technology Help Desk:

Which MCC technologies have you already utilized? Which ones do you need help or support to use? If you need support with technology at MCC, make a commitment to visit the help desk this week.

Using this text as a resource

First-year college students need to think about so many things in their first few weeks that it’s impossible to include the answers to all those important questions early in a College Success course. Luckily, this textbook can serve as one of many resources to help you locate the information you need when you need it, even if you haven’t covered it yet in class. Where in this book can you find the answers to these common student questions?

You may wish to refer to the table of contents and skim through the text.

  1. How do I take notes in class?
  2. How can I log onto Brightspace?
  3. Where can I go to talk about my problems?
  4. Where are the places you can get tutoring sometimes referred to as learning centers?
  5. How much exercise and sleep should I be getting?
  6. How do I set and achieve goals?
  7. What is MCC’s policy on academic honesty?
  8. What do I need to know about college writing?
  9. Where can I look up the definitions to common college words, such as matriculated?
  10. What do I need to know about communication and netiquette?

Investigate a campus resource

Your goal is to “sell” the resource to your classmates by persuading them of the value of using the resource while attending college.

  1. Research your resource online, visit your resource in person (unless you are a fully online student), and talk to other faculty and students about your resource to gather information.
  2. Create a presentation, such as a PowerPoint, video, or digital collage. Let your classmates know tips for accessing and using the resources and the advantages of using the resource while attending college.
  3. Present your resource to the class.

Help! I have a problem and I don’t know where to go on campus

In groups of 2-3, problem-solve to help the students below access the resources they need.

  1. I can’t log on to an MCC computer.
  2. I got a parking ticket, and I want to appeal it.
  3. I am a Veteran, and I am wondering what services are available to help me.
  4. Between paying rent and putting gas in the car to get to class, I don’t have enough money for food.
  5. I want to join a club where I can meet others and express my artistic creativity.
  6. My car broke down, and I am taking classes at both campuses. I can get a ride to Brighton and home from Downtown, so I just need a way to get from Brighton to Downtown.
  7. I have a research paper, and I don’t know where to start or how long it will take me.
  8. I want my parents to have access to my educational records, but I have heard FERPA keeps them private.
  9. I am thinking about getting a meal plan next semester, but I am not sure about my options.
  10. After my night class, I’m worried about walking alone to my car.

College policies

In groups of 2-3, explore one of the following college policies or procedures. You will find information about your policy or procedure in the Student Handbook. Read and take notes on your section. Then present to the class the information you think your classmates should know about the policy or procedure.

  • Academic Honesty
  • Code of Conduct of Users of College Computer Systems
  • Discrimination Complaint Procedure
  • Rights and Freedoms of Students
  • Services for Students With Disabilities
  • Student Consumer Informaiton
  • Students’ Rights Regarding their Educational Records
  • Registration – Academic Progress
  • Registration – Drop, Add, Withdrawal Policy
  • Registration – Grading System and Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • General Conduct Rules – Alcohol, Smoking, and Substances
  • General Conduct Rules – Assault, Harassment, and Hazing

After the presentations, complete the following reflection independently.

  • What policy surprised you?
  • What policy do you most appreciate learning about? Why?
  • What policy have you had an interaction with? Explain.
  • What policy do you think should be added or deleted? Why?

Sexual assault resources

Additional local resources


  • Health Services located in 3-165 or by phone at 585-292-2018
  • Counseling Center in 3-103 or by phone at 585-292-2250


  • RESTORE Rape Crisis (24-hour hotline) 585-546-2777 for Monroe County
  • RESTORE Rape Crisis 1-800-527-1757 for Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties
  • RESOLVE to intervene and prevent domestic and sexual assault against women 585-425-1580
  • Alternatives for Battered Women (24-hour hotline) 585-232-7353
  • RPD Victims Assistance 585-428-6630
  • Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims (24-hour hotline) 585-936-8976
  • Out Alliance
  • Legal Aid Society of Rochester 585-232-4090
  • Rochester/Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium 585-428-2215
  • Catholic Family Service Refugee Resettlement Services 585-546-7220
  • NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence (24-hour hotline) 1-800-942-6906
  • NYS Domestic & Sexual Violence (24-hour hotline) for Spanish speakers 1-800-942-6908
  • Safe Journey 585-425-1580
  • NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence 518-457-5800
  • NY Asian Women’s Center 1-888-888-7702
  • NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence 518-482-5465

MCC Libraries

This chapter in your textbook covers important topics like attending college classes, the learning process, college policies, communicating with instructors, college resources, effectively transitioning to college, and exploring MCC technology.

Follow this link for additional resources: 

Library Services, Monroe Community CollegeIf you have questions or need help accessing MCC Libraries, let us know at or 585-292-2303.



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