8 tips for a successful college semester
Start writing a post

College is a stressful time, and with the new fall semester looming around the corner I've begun to reflect on my freshman year of college. What can I change going forward? How can I make this semester better?

My schedule for this semester is hectic, to say the least. I've somehow managed to cram all five of my classes into two days, to leave room for me to work around thirty hours a week at three different jobs. Yep, you read that right. Needless to say, I need to go into this semester with strong time management and stress coping skills.

This won't be easy for someone who copes with stressful school-related situations by procrastinating and watching Youtube videos, but this time around there really is no room for error. Here are some of the tips and tricks I'll be using this upcoming semester to help me stay productive and on top of my game.

​1. Positive Mindset

Here's a little Buddhist wisdom: "All that we are is the result of what we have thought."

I'm sure everyone has noticed this at some point in their own lives. When your thoughts are positive, the outcomes are positive, and vice versa. This is where the notion of positive affirmations comes into play, and a lot of people find success in using them. This semester, I'm going to *try* to keep a positive and open mind about my coursework and my schedule. Everything will work out. I'll be able to balance my work and academic schedules without my GPA suffering.

​2. Make Lists

Last semester I adopted a system of lists. I had a master-list in a notebook with every single task I had to do that week- school related in one column and life related in another, with the due dates for each task written in a bright color (so I wouldn't miss it). I tried to write out the list in both priority order and order of due date. Then, each night I wrote out the tasks for the next day on a post-it note and stuck it on my laptop. Basically, by repeatedly writing out my tasks and putting them where I would always see them, I never forgot a deadline and I felt a certain self-imposed pressure to get things done on time. Staying organized is the key to success, and saves a lot of anxiety further down the road.

3. Make the Big Tasks Into Little Ones

An eight to ten page paper is quite the undertaking. I had to write loads (and I mead LOADS) of them last semester, when I was taking two history courses and a political science class. Leaving a long paper like that until the last minute creates a rather overwhelming task. You can break down long papers into a lot of ways, but breaking it down and viewing it as a series of small assignments is so much more manageable than looking at the task as a whole. I would always view my ten page papers as merely writing five, two page papers. It's a great way to deal with big, time-consuming assignments

4. Take Personal Time

I cherish my morning workouts and my pre-bed Netflix. Carving out designated personal time into your routine is essential for maintaining your sanity, which is essential for getting all your work done.

5. Make Social Time

Yes, go out with your friends! Going on that spontaneous day-long excursion to Brooklyn is totally a good idea. Social time is just as important as school work. It's all about balance.

6. Incentives

I'm talking about little incentives. For example, if I finish a page or two of the paper I'm writing, I can take a 20 minute break. Once I finish my (boring) reading, I can take myself for a latte (I will do literally anything for coffee). Small little treats and breaks keep me going, and give me a much needed mental break. Associating unpleasant chores with things that make you happy can make getting work done a lot more manageable (and maybe even enjoyable).

7. Recognize Your Limits

You are stronger than you think, but you're not invincible. Everyone has a limit, and it's important to recognize your limits to avoid burning out. If you've been doing something for hours but haven't been remotely productive during that time, move on to something else. Or, better yet, go to sleep and do it in the morning when you're refreshed.

8. Figure Out When You're the Most Productive

I can bang out a solid five pages at 5 a.m., no problem at all. But, ask me to do the same thing in the afternoon, and I will stare at a blank word document for six hours. Everyone has a time of the day where they're the most productive. I work best in the early morning, so I make sure that my sleep schedule reflects this so that I can work efficiently.

The best way to have a successful semester and to manage the inevitable stresses that come with it is to listen to yourself. You know what works the best for you, and figuring out your motivations and limits early on can save you a ton of time and aggravation later.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments