A new semester is upon us. If you’re like me, you look forward to the start of a new year, new classes, and a new chance at starting off on the right foot. Usually, we promise ourselves we’ll do better this time – we’ll study more, not go out as much, and maybe even meet with our professor (if we have to).
Sometimes goals like these can seem overwhelming after we get into the first few weeks of a new semester when things become less important, and we expect less of ourselves. But there are a few tips that might help your goal(s) seem easier and help you achieve back-to-school success.
1. Minimize Distractions
When it comes to where you’ll study, try not to isolate yourself to your bedroom. It’s good to separate your study area from your living area to restrain yourself from distractions and to maintain focus. Pick a quiet study spot, like the library. If it’s not quiet enough, bring earplugs or headphones to study while listening to music (unless this can become a distraction). Put your phone away in your backpack, too. As they say, out of sight out of mind. When you’re studying, the less distractions available around you, the more you will accomplish.
2. Find Inspiration
Take notice of who in your class is smart, volunteers, asks questions, sits up front, etc. Try to emulate that. If they don’t have their phone out, don’t have yours out. Seeing other students so focused on learning can be a major source of inspiration. Bonus: go the extra mile and form a study group with them. I did this while taking a very difficult math class (the most failed one at my university) and I passed by the miracle of studying with a group of girls determined to also pass.
3. Download Apps
Not all apps out there are for games! Use apps to help with your classes, homework, or to get organized. I recommend checking out Quizlet, Evernote, or myHomework. Ask your friends if they use any apps that are helpful for college.
4. Watch Your Stress Level
All work and no play, well, you know the rest. Studying and reading the book for your classes is important, but don’t overdo it. It’s easy to overwhelm yourself and feel like you have to get something done by a certain time. Remember you don’t have to sacrifice eating or sleep to get a good grade. The first week is a good time to get a good reading on how long you’ll spend studying for each class. We all study in our own way so don’t feel pressure to get things done right away. Take time to play!
5. Use Your Campus Resources
Advisers can be very helpful if you utilize them. Most of the time, before you sign up for classes, or even after if you’re thinking about changing your mind, they can recommend a class based on your learning style that will satisfy your requirements. Just ask!