As yet another semester rolls around, many of us face it with a certain mixture of fear and excitement. I could list off all the stressful things we’re all about to face, but I think we are all very aware of those. Instead, I want to take some time to encourage my fellow students. (I’ll try to keep the shouting and exclamation points to a minimum).
Try to remember that new classes are exciting. Try ranking which classes you like the most after the first week and then rank them again after the semester is over. This will put into perspective how sometimes classes will surprise you. Several times the class I thought was going to be terrible ended up being my favorite. It’s a nice idea to keep in mind when the dread starts to kick in.
Lean on your friends. Chances are, the first week or two should have a fairly easy workload. It’s a perfect time to go to events you wouldn’t usually go to on campus and expand your horizons. Check out a sporting event, a performance, a new club, or the new art exhibit. Take advantage of your extra time and you won't regret it.
Build relationships with your professors early on in the semester. This is a huge one. If your professor has office hours, make a point to stop in and ask a quick question or even just introduce yourself again. It will make it easier to approach them later if you need help and you never know when you might need references later on.
Hit the gym. Trust me, I know this isn’t always appealing. But your stress levels will definitely thank you. Think about taking a class if your school offers them. It forces you to go at least a few times a week and your body and mental health will definitely thank you for it.
Use campus resources. Even better, check the website and look to see if your school has added any new ones. You only have four years to take advantage of the opportunities you're being provided. You better use them while you can!
Make a list of your own goals. It can be small enough to put on a post-it note. Put it somewhere you'll see it and keep yourself accountable. If you're not growing and pushing yourself, what's the point?
Know what motivates you. For me, it's good music and cute animal videos. Squeeze every last drop of motivation out of those things. Sometimes it's easy to forget what makes you happy. Since I've recently become an advocate for lists, consider writing down a list of self-care ideas to look back on when you need them. This has helped me an infinite amount!
If all else fails, remember to be present. It's easy to get caught up in the looming deadlines so much that you forget to enjoy the time you have now. This isn't me waving a flag in support of procrastination, but rather a reminder to pay attention to what's going on around you. Most of us only have eight semesters on campus, which means we have to make every single one count.