Starting the new semester right

Jan. 21, 2015

By Vesna Brajkovic

Every new semester starts out the same way. I think, “This semester I’m not going to leave things off to the last minute” and “I’m going to try my best.” And then week two rolls around and I’m like, “Well, good effort. Maybe next time.”

The start of something is the most important part because it always sets up the end of it. This semester, and the new year, is a chance to start back up fresh. It’s a chance to not just get good grades, but be proud and confident when you finally reach the end of this school year. As a self-proclaimed organization freak and perfectionist with a bad case of procrastination, I have a few tips that help me be the best I can be. The trick is actually following these steps. Good luck!

Use a planner

As a college student, the due dates and deadlines are endless. My biggest piece of advice is to utilize a planner. Whether the planner is electronic or physical, it’s the best way to stay organized and on top of your responsibilities. If you’re thinking “who needs a planner when I can just remember everything?” right now, you might be the one who needs a planner the most.

On the first day of class, read over your syllabus and go through your planner and mark important due dates throughout the month. I suggest pencil since not all teachers are strict about sticking to syllabus dates. You might be amazed how stress relieving it is to expect things before the professor mentions them, or without having to dig out a crumpled up syllabus from the bottom of your backpack every couple weeks.

I suggest going for a monthly planner, rather than weekly. Ever realize how fast deadlines can sneak up on you? A monthly planner helps you stay on top of your game by anticipating due dates in advance.

Keep your space clean

If the space you come home to is in chaos, your life is going to feel like it’s in chaos. My advice is to set aside time to clean up your room, or wherever you spend most of your time. It’s much more peaceful to come back home and study in a clean and organized space than one with pizza boxes and dirty clothes all over the floor.

I’m not saying you have to become a clean-freak and start dusting the curtains and shampooing the carpets, but once you de-clutter and put things away, it somehow makes you feel like you have your life together.

Become a morning person

Let’s all roll our eyes on a count of three. 1…2…3. Trust me, as the biggest night owl of all time, I know it’s not easy. But as much as I truly despise people who are happy in the morning, I have to say  they have the right idea.

Starting out the day on a good note is part of having a good life. Plan out your morning the night before and get a good night sleep. Even if you don’t wake up completely refreshed, it’s just waking up that counts. Allow extra time to get ready and eat breakfast so you’re not rushing to class. This will set the tone for the rest of the day.

It’s amazing how much extra time you’ll have if you’re not sleeping past noon when you don’t have morning class (completely guilty).

Stay on campus and use time wisely

Instead of waiting until the end of the day to get home and do all your work for the next day in one sitting, try to utilize the idle times.

College makes you realize the little time each day has. But think of all the time you waste waiting in between classes or during your lunch break. Instead of constantly refreshing social media or walking back to your room, stay on campus and get something done. Read the chapters in your book you’re going to be too tired to read later or do half of an assignment. Even 10-15 minutes of work can help ease up your workload later on.

Let’s say you have no more work due for the week. Work ahead! This is easy since you’ve been utilizing your monthly planner and know exactly what’s coming up. If you know you’ll have 15 minutes between class, make sure to pack that extra book and notebook. Working ahead and using your time wisely will help you stay stress-free and make it harder to procrastinate.

 

If you choose to follow this advice, remember the cliché: new year, new you. As you start the semester, realize nothing can change if you don’t. Take small steps in your life to make it the best it can be. If you feel like you’ve just been getting by, this is your perfect chance to amp it up. Do more than the bare minimum and challenge yourself. The hardest part is getting started.

Actually, the hardest part is waking up. Wow, I am not a morning person.

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