How To Stay Ahead Of The Spring Term

How To Stay Ahead Of The Spring Term

Utilizing your time and fashioning it in such a way that you don't get burnout in the first few weeks is vital.
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It's the start of a new semester. To start it off right, there are some things you can do.

First of all, breathe. You got this.

To start off on the right foot, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay organized. As soon as you get your syllabi make sure you highlight all of the important dates: tests, quizzes, papers, and assignments. I find it best to keep ONE collective calendar for all my classes so I can easily stay on top of due dates. Keep in mind, things can (and most likely will) overlap. So it's best to know weeks (if not months) beforehand. I also like to make deadlines of my own so I'm not left scampering to the finish line to get assignments done.

The second thing that you can do to help yourself is to stay on top, and if possible, ahead of lectures. You'll find that some topics will come easier to you and others will attempt to get the best of you. If you fall behind, it'll be hard to catch up and you'll find yourself falling behind.

Once again, THE SYLLABUS IS YOUR FRIEND.

You should study up on the topic before the lecture, so you know what concepts trouble you. I also like taking notes on a topic before class and I jot down new tips/details during lecture. I find that this is more effective in forming a study guide later on. You can also form study groups for certain classes, although do try to keep the number of people involved to the bare minimum to ensure that you stay on task. Like I said before, certain topics will be a breeze while others will stump you. That's the benefit of a study group: to build upon the things you don't know and to strengthen the concepts you have extensive knowledge of.

DO NOT PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER TO CRAM FOR A TEST THE NIGHT BEFORE.

I can't stress that enough. What usually ends up happening in that scenario is that you barely remember anything the next day and end up giving yourself unnecessary anxiety.

PLAN AHEAD.

What you can do the night before a test is practice problems and recite important key points.

Know when to say no. There are so many things that occur on campus. New jobs, internships, etc. Even your friends keep texting you to hang out. But stop.

You can't commit to everything at once.

It's best to keep things at a point where you're not feeling overwhelmed. A new internship sounds amazing, but you need to decide if you'll still be able to stay dedicated to your school work. That should always be a priority.

I also like keeping my phone on "Airplane Mode" or "Do Not Disturb." It helps me make the most out of the day. I noticed that keeping my phone in my bag while I'm studying is also very useful. I don't find myself scrolling through my e-mails every 10 seconds. Plus, you can even dedicate a time of the day when you reply back to the important emails/ texts.

Lastly, breathe again.

Utilizing your time and fashioning it in such a way that you don't get burnout in the first few weeks is vital. So know when you've had enough. If you're studying and you find yourself reading the same sentence over and over and over and over again- STOP.

Take a break. And come back. Don't keep forcing your brain. Chances are you'll end up overwriting the things you do know with nonsense. Let things sink in before you move on.

Cover Image Credit: Helloquence / Unsplash

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An Open Pat On The Back To Full-Time Students Who Also Work

You really deserve an award, but this article will have to do.
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It's pretty freaking hard.

“I can work nights and weekends, I'm a student," you told the manager during your interview.

So, what does he do? He schedules you most nights and weekends. This is OK. This is, after all, what you asked for. So you start working.

Class, class, work. Class, work. Class, no work tonight, you sleep and it feels like the first time in years. Class, homework, homework, homework. Class, class, work.

Before you know it, it's the weekend. There's a party. Your friend wants to see you. Your mom is calling you to see how you are.

But you are working all weekend.

You call your mom on your half hour break. She tells you are doing too much. She tells you that you should work less. Ask for less hours. Sleep more. Eat more. You will get sick.

You get out of work Friday night around 11 p.m. There is still so much night left!! You try to hit up that party. Sure, you will show up a little late, but at least you will make an appearance. At least you will get to see some of your friends. At least you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself. At least you will be able to have some fun. By the time you get ready and get there, people begin leaving. You begin to wonder why you came out in the first place.

“I'm sorry, I've been at work" becomes an all-too-familiar phrase.

But, but, but.

You really deserve a pat on the back, so here it is.

You've given up a lot. And you work crazy hard. Those long nights and hours are hard. A lot of kids your age don't work and rely solely on your parents. But you, you have taken it upon yourself to earn some money for yourself. You are a full-time student, and most of your free time goes toward working and supporting yourself.

You truly do not get the appreciation that you deserve.

But when you do get some time to go out, when you request a weekend off, you have some money to spend. You are never the guy who can't go out because they don't have enough money.

And of course, you will start saving. This is huge. You're going to graduate in debt (probably), and because you busted your butt during school and saved up, putting a crack in that debt will be a little easier for you.

You are a forward thinker, whether you realize it or not.

You are building responsibility, money management, and self-reliance skills, whether you realize it or not.

You are quite mature for your age, whether you realize it or not.

AND YOU deserve a pat on the back. So here it is.

You're incredible. You're amazing. Go get 'em.

Seriously, take a second to congratulate yourself for all your hard work.

And whatever you do, get some sleep, kid. And remember, don't work yourself too hard. Just hard enough so that you feel good, and rewarded, and happy.

You're the man. Keep killin' it, dude. Keep killin' it.

Cover Image Credit: Peter Bernik/123rf Stock Photo

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I Never Wanted To Go To College

I never wanted to go to college, but I stayed because I learned some things along the way - who knew.

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I went because it's what the family expected from me. It's a step towards a successful career path. And obviously because it's a natural progression from high school. But deep down I never wanted to go because I really found no reason to be there.

In my view if you weren't going into traditional career fields, going to college was an expensive long shot. I was also careful to pay attention to all the people that attended college only to work in fields different from what they originally studied.

I was wary but didn't care so I don't put much thought into it. I applied to a handful of schools and attended the one that was more convenient. Once there I found the whole process disheartening.

I relied heavily on financial aid and felt the interaction and choices I was making were more transactional then enriching. It was just like high school again. Go to class take notes, read the book take the test, rinse and repeat until you get the degree.

That was until I fell into a philosophy class that was really challenging. It was challenging in a way that I hadn't been experienced in a while. I was having trouble understanding the material but desperately wanted to learn it. I read books over and over until the concepts were crystal clear. It also helped that I had a teacher who was passionate about the subject as well.

It kind of changed my whole approach to picking classes. Sure I'd visit the advisors and get their take on how to follow the quickest path to graduation. But I also wanted to be intentional with my course selection and take classes where I would learn as much as I could in topics that interested me.

Whether or not they fit my major. That's the only thing that made going to school worth it. Learning topics that change how I approach life and challenged my thinking. Then I was growing intellectually and not just checking boxes for a degree.

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