10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time at Pratt

Photo by Sam Stuart

As a new academic year begins, it’s time to experiment and learn while taking advantage of opportunities on campus and beyond. Amid the excitement of new projects, classes, and studios, here are 10 tips for staying focused and inspired, and getting the most out of what Pratt Institute and New York City have to offer.

Be patient and kind to yourself and others

As the Pratt Foundation points out in its helpful “10 Tips for a Successful First Year”: “We live and learn in unparalleled times; approach your education, your class, your peers, and your faculty with empathy, patience, and an open mind. Mistakes are part of learning or improving something you’ve been doing for years. Be sure to be kind to yourself and those around you as you take on challenges, both in class and outside.

Explore the campus

Maybe you took a campus tour this year or years ago; spend time reorienting yourself through the various buildings, departments and labs. Notice its distinctive sights, sounds and landmarks. You might discover a new favorite study nook or an inspiring work of art, like a dynamic piece in Sculpture Park or the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing in the Brooklyn campus library.

Be part of campus life

Going to class is important, but just as important is connecting with other students from all disciplines and schools. There are many events, clubs, organizations and gatherings. Find the latest announcements on Engage. Whether it’s birdwatching, making 16mm films or dancing to K-pop, there’s something for everyone.

stay active

No matter how busy you are, getting away from your screen, easel, or sewing machine is crucial for your physical and mental health. Stop by the ARC for a group fitness class or do individual strength training; join a club sport like badminton or softball or an intramural sport like basketball or indoor soccer. Walk down Myrtle Avenue to Fort Greene Park and climb the stairs to the 149-foot-tall Prison Ship Martyrs Monument or bike to the Brooklyn Bridge for sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.

Establish a mindfulness routine

Eating well (try Pratt Farm to Campus for fresh produce) and exercising are essential for well-being, but so is slowing down to control yourself and find your balance. Pratt’s Meditation Incubator offers online and in-person guidance for meditation and how a mindfulness practice can enhance creativity and success. The Pratt Chapel provides the campus community with a space for meditation and interfaith and denominational rites. Or open a tarot deck and let the ritual guide you.

Set goals and structure the time to achieve them

Being ambitious is key to thriving in college and in a career, but so is being realistic about your time. Create daily, weekly and yearly to-do lists to track your progress. Use productivity apps like Forest, note-taking apps like Bear, or a bullet journal; find out what works for you. Contact the Learning/Access Center for help with time management and study skills.

Don’t work in isolation

Even when working on a freelance project, artwork, story, or article, give yourself the opportunity to work alongside others. Form a study group or brainstorm with a friend. Talk to faculty members during their office hours. Get out your sketchbook. Keep in touch with your academic advisor. The relationships you forge at Pratt will last well beyond graduation.

Learn more about your domain

Don’t limit your academic interests to your courses; seek out professors, alumni, and others who can share ideas about your discipline or potential field. Take part in a mentoring program to network with professionals and meet other students who share your passions. Contact the Professional and Career Development Center for guidance, career advice and internship opportunities.

Do things you love

It may seem obvious, but focusing intensely on studies and classes takes a lot of energy and time. Give yourself space to do things just for fun so you can recharge. Read something for fun, maybe a short zine from Pratt Libraries; call a friend or family member; listen to a podcast; go see a concert, a play or a movie. Whatever brings you happiness, give yourself time to do it.

Let New York inspire you

Where else can you spend the morning in an Egyptian temple, the afternoon in a Gothic chapel and the evening on an iconic roller coaster? Sure, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, and Coney Island in one day would be an epic subway trip, but you have plenty of time in Pratt to experience the culture, history, and architecture that makes New York a global city. destination. Approach the city as an extension of the campus; visit museums, galleries, neighborhoods, historic homes, parks, botanical gardens and libraries. Take walking tours, attend readings and watch movies. Everything is a metro ride away.


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