A Word Of Encouragement For Returning College Students - Because Somehow We're ALREADY Over This Semester

I hate to say it, but it's three days into the semester and I'm already feeling overwhelmed.

Like many of my peers - I'm sure - getting those syllabuses and looking at the list of assignments you have to complete before the end of the semester is daunting to say the least. Writing down everything in my schedule, I just see homework assignments upon projects, upon exams, and three days into the semester I'm already feeling like I've been lazy, like I should be doing more, constantly filling up my free time by getting a head start on assignments that haven't even been mentioned in class yet.

And I realize I need to stop.

We talk about the beginning of the semester like it's a fresh start, like maybe this time it will be easy and we will be on top of our game the whole time and feel great while we're doing it.

That's a nice sentiment, but it's just not realistic.

The new semester is the next level, an addition of what we've done before, and it is a chance to improve ourselves and our work. Don't dismiss what you have done before, because this is your opportunity to expand upon it.

The reality is you will not be on top of your game the whole time - nobody is. Even the best student in your class is bound to have some days where they are doing assignments last minute and getting back subpar grades. These lapses in productivity are okay and normal. Take the time off you need to reset. Take a nap, or go get a meal without trying to do your work at the same time. Go work out. Do whatever you need to do so you can calm down and say "This is manageable. I have done this before and can do it again."

Find one small thing you can improve from last semester, and fix it. Maybe it's getting more sleep (even if it's just thirty minutes), maybe it's eating three meals a day, or studying more regularly for a certain class. You know what your faults were last semester, and making just a small, attainable goal to improve the next five months will be improvement nonetheless.

It's a new year - you're not a new person, but you know what you're capable of. You've survived and done well in the past, and you can certainly do the same in the future.

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