After a long needed break, most of us will be starting a new semester soon. Like every semester we promise that this is finally the one in which we will actually get our shit together. We always start out by saying:
I will not skip a single class, I will start my homework and projects earlier, I’ll start going to the library more, I will go to office hours, I’ll be more involved in school events and my favorite one, I will not procrastinate.
But who are we kidding, we won’t stay true to these commitments. We are bound to break them throughout the semester. But there is still hope, with the new semester just around the corner here are some useful tips to make this upcoming semester successful:
1. Buy a planner and write down EVERYTHING.
Yes, you heard me. Go buy a planner (it doesn’t have to be a pretty $20 one) and write down all of your homework, due dates, events, meetings. This will help you be more organized and to stay on track of everything, so you don’t have to rush to do last minute work.
2. Take care of textbook duties early.
Don’t be that one student who shows up to the 1st week of class without a textbook that is required. Therefore, you should take some steps now to get those textbooks such as emailing a professor to find out if a textbook if going to be needed. Prices for books are cheaper before the semester starts, so start looking for them now. On that note, don’t wait until the last minute to get them because they will either be out of stock or expensive.
3. You need SMART Goals.
SMART goals? Yes, Smart Goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Your goals need to fit these five criteria in order to be SMART. These goals should be relevant to your long-term academic/career plans, remember to develop a method to track your progress.
4. Use your school’s resources.
Do you need help with a math problem? I bet your school has a math tutoring center. Need help writing your essay? Check out The Writing Center. Go to school events and make connections with other students and professors. The resources are out there waiting for you; all you need to do is to look for them.
5.Make connections with professors.
Your professors know people, they are published individuals with a large network of influential people. Make it a goal to form a relationship with at least one of your professors this semester. For fellowship or graduate school applications, you will need to ask your professor(s) for a letter of recommendation. If an opportunity comes across to them, they might think of you first. So, go to their office hours or schedule one-on-one meetings with them.
6. Make your health a priority.
Your health is very important! Stressing out about the little things doesn’t do you any good. Our eating habits are the worst during these times too, eating pizza or pasta every single day will not energize you. Instead, snack on brain foods like almonds and dark chocolate. Do not let yourself get overworked.
7. Schedule “me” time.
My worst semesters have been the semesters without proper self-care. Scheduling and practicing time for yourself is as essential as studying and attendance. You can’t do either of the latter two without a proper amount of the former. A healthy run, a good book, insightful meditation — even if it’s just an hour a week, it’s an essential part of a successful semester. It’s important we focus on our personal growth and development as the semester progresses.
Follow these quick tips and it should all be a piece of cake from there. Wishing all you a great spring semester!