I don’t know about you, but the Spring semester was always the hardest for me. Not because classes were tougher, although sometimes they were, mentally, I already checked out. The new semester would start in January, and I would already feel the mid-semester slump. Maybe it’s because I was still drunk on Christmas Spirit or whatever the case was, but I hated the Spring semester. Getting ready for a new semester was always so hard for me for no reason whatsoever.
It wasn’t until recently (two and half years after graduating college) that January started to feel like the beginning of a new year. It was always the new school year that heralded the new year. For as long as I can remember, August was the most important month in my life. It was the end of summer vacation and the beginning of school that I have always had a love-hate relationship with, even to this day.
Getting Ready for a New Semester
Make a Game Plan
Don’t be lazy and make a plan. It is so easy to be swallowed by stress and anxiety midway through a semester. The weight of having three papers, a presentation, and a project all due back to back can be suffocating. Take the time at the beginning of every new semester to make a game plan. In the wise words of Captain Cold, “Make the plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan.”
Knowing when assignments are due and when you should be working on them will help alleviate the stress. It won’t feel like you are scrounging around for free time to get things done.
Organization is Key
I am by no means the most organized person, but I pretended to be that person at the start of a new semester. Even if it doesn’t all stick through the course of your semester, at least you have the backbone of whatever organization method you choose to keep you together by the seams.
I realized for me, less was more. I didn’t need a notebook for every single class. I just needed one notebook with dividers. It was less to keep track of on my end. I also hate planners. There is just something in my brain that refuses to use them, and it makes no sense. Why would I write things down in a book I guarantee I will never open at home. (I hated my stupid “mandatory” planners in high school and middle school).
Figure out what works for you and keep at it for as long as possible. It will only make your life easier, even though some of us like to play life in hard mode.
Find a Study Routine
No one likes to study unless it’s on a subject you love. But for the most part, none of us want to sit there and learn about the different layers of the Earth. But there are many things in life and in being an adult that I don’t like to do that I have to do anyway. So finding a routine that works for you will help you settle into a groove that keeps you going throughout the semester instead of being all over the place. (Easier said than done, though.)
And along with finding a routine, figure out what study methods work best for you. I could sit here and write you a whole spiel on study methods, but I’ll leave you with a link that breaks down different methods better than I ever could.
I said some of us like to play life on hard mode. Well, this goes out to that “some of us.” There are so many resources on campus and through your professors that you should ask for help when things get hard. College is already stressful enough, no need to make it any harder than necessary. Writing labs, tutoring, study groups, professor office hours, and whatever other resources you can find will help navigate the stress of a new semester all the easier. Here is a list of online resources that can help you out.
Take Care of Yourself
It can be easy to forget about taking care of yourself between classes, studying, work, and social life. We all want to grind our butts off now to secure a better future for ourselves, but all that grinding will do you no good if you crash and burn before you get to that future you want. Take care of yourself and take breaks when you need them. Like breathing or drinking water, we need the occasional break from all the mayhem and stress from school, so don’t forget to breathe, drink your water, or relax on those days that the stress feels heavier than normal.