Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Back to School Tips for a Successful Semester


As we jump into the first couple weeks of the fall semester, we are presented with a fresh start to set new goals and grow. In these first weeks back, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by new coursework, schedules, and responsibilities. To help ease those first-week jitters, here are some tips and tricks to having a successful semester. 

Everyone knows that it’s a good idea to study before a quiz or exam, but not many of us were actually taught how to study. While flashcards and reading the textbook are helpful, the Pomodoro Technique has proven to be effective. This technique involves breaking your study time into focused intervals, typically 25 minutes each, followed by a five minute break. After completing this cycle four times (approximately two hours), take a longer break of 30 minutes to recharge and relax. You may then continue the cycle for as long as needed. 

The Pomodoro Technique has proven to be effective by dividing study time into manageable intervals and providing breaks to prevent mental fatigue. The 25 minute study session has also proven to be the best period of time for retention and concentration. However, it’s important to adapt the Pomodoro Technique to your own preferences and needs. Some students find that 25 minutes is too short or too long, so feel free to adjust the time intervals to what works best for you. The key is to maintain a balance between focused work and relaxing breaks to optimize your study sessions.

Not only is balance key in studying methods, but it’s also important within our everyday lives. Balancing your workload with a social life (among other responsibilities) can be challenging, but it’s crucial for overall well-being and success. One way to ensure this balance is prioritizing tasks and practicing self-care. 

When presented with multiple tasks or engagements, the best practice is to identify your most important and time-sensitive responsibilities, and prioritize those. Take a step back and understand how you personally rank importance. Is there a balance between multiple aspects of your life or does one seem to be taking over? From there, break down larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks that can be realistically accomplished. 

Once you’ve prioritized your schedule, find a time to practice self-care. Whether this be a walk around campus, meditating, or reading a good book, take that time to de-stress away from distractions. Remember that finding and maintaining balance is an ongoing process, but these tips may lighten the load. 

Lastly, personalize your spaces. This may seem like a non-essential step amongst everything being thrown at you, but it has a major impact on mood and productivity. If you were to walk outside during a stormy day, your mood and motivation levels would be different than walking outside during a sunny day. This concept exists within your personal spaces, as well. Make your desk somewhere that you don’t dread sitting down everyday. This could be decorating with picture frames of loved ones, using a different colored lamp, or writing with fun utensils. It’s incredible how the right lighting, comfortable seating, and a clutter-free workspace can make a significant difference in focus and efficiency.

As we move forward in the school year, try out these tips and tricks to help navigate your experience. It’s important to remember that learning and growth are often accompanied by obstacles. Finding balance and creating these habits is an ongoing process, so take it easy on yourself. Good luck!

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