How To Survive A New Semester

I have officially made it through the first two weeks of the semester mostly unscathed. It’s a little crazy how things in my life are slowly becoming more and more intense and real! As in, my friends are looking for internships and talking about voting or 401K gibberish. Adult things.

Anyway, that is not the point! The point is getting back into the swing of things and normalizing the adjustment back to college life.

  • Don’t Wait Until You Think You Need Help To Go To Office Hours

Honestly, I know it’s a weird thought to go to your professor and talk to them before you have an assignment due, but it will help you in the long run. You don’t need to have a question directly in mind to visit office hours. Here are somethings you can talk about that aren’t about homework:

  • I am concerned about my ability to do well in this class, do you have any tips?
  • What made you want to teach this subject?
  • What are qualities that you’ve seen in students that have excelled in this class?
  • What is the most rewarding thing about teaching?

Professors are humans too and it might be nice to have conversations that don’t always have to do with class. Another reason to head over to office hours is to maybe get a second explanation. I know that sometimes I think I get something until I open up my homework, and then for some reason everything that I learned flies out of the window. Going to office hours and asking for alternate explanations can increase your retention.

  • Iron Out The Kinks And Form A Routine

Before the semester started, I made a spreadsheet of my classes and roughly mapped out my desk schedule, when I wanted to work out (if I ever did work out), tentative study times and so forth. After the first weeks I can put my professor’s office hours, adjust for meetings and rearrange things to fit the needs of my schedule. The first weeks of school are more of a dress rehearsal and the rest of the semester is the show, so getting into good habits is a crucial skill. Habits form from repetition and signaling a response/reward sequence in your brain so instead of forcing yourself to study for 6 hours straight, try alternating every one or two hours of work for thirty minutes to an hour of something fun, such as:

  • Watching a show on Netflix
  • Painting your nails
  • Call a friend (or your mom, she really misses you)
  • Read for leisure
  • Go on a walk
  • Visit a friend
  • Write a letter
  • Start Studying Now

For some reason I always feel like my classes don’t really start until after the first exam, and that’s definitely not true. This semester, I didn’t get a true “syllabus week” where I went to class got my syllabus and left. Nope, first day of class and I was having full blown lectures and I hadn’t even gotten my supplies for the semester yet. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that every day in class is an important day, and that waiting until things get hard to study will not help you in the long run. This semester I’m taking a lot of challenging classes, so I can’t afford to get behind on anything. Don’t know how to study for the class? That’s fine! Ask a fellow classmate, a friend that has taken the class or your professor for tips and tricks. Each person studies differently, so you’ll get a variety of ways to choose from.

  • Go To Bed

It may seem like since the semester isn’t really in full swing that going to bed on time isn’t as much as a priority but I wouldn’t be so sure. I know for me that once the semester gets rolling that I will definitely be wishing that I had taken advantage of the times that I could’ve gone to bed at 10 instead of 3. Also, sleep helps you retain memories of what you learn and allows for your body to heal again. I know that my winter break body was not ready for the hills on my campus, and I was seriously in need of some naps throughout the day. Sleep is very important, and I know that in college, the night life always has something going on, but if you have an 8 am class the next morning, I would consider bowing out. I know I’m always afraid of what I’m going to be missing out of if I go to bed earlier that all of my friends, and it stinks whenever I watch people’s stories and see all the fun that they had. But I have to remind myself that I need to rest my body, and at least I didn’t fall asleep in class that day.





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