4 tips for a strong semester

Welcome back Bobcats! The academic school year is halfway over, and it is time to begin the spring semester. The new year has already thrown some curveballs our way with winter storms, school closures, COVID testing, and unexpected delays. What we’ve experienced the last few weeks is the epitome of being a college student—you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Having a few tricks up your sleeve on how to navigate through this semester can save you lots of stress and panic. To kickstart this year and put you in the best possible position for the months ahead, here are a few things to keep in mind.  

1. Manage your time  

Time is money, and it’s an expensive commodity. As a college student, managing time and staying on top of your schedule can keep you ahead of the curve for weeks to come. Have you ever thought about making a schedule or using a planner? Proper scheduling of assignments, deadlines, and extracurricular activities can add structure to the busy life of a college student and keep you from getting overwhelmed. Penciling out time slots for study hours and/or free time can give students the realization that they have more time on their hands than they think. Installing planning apps on your phone such as myHomework and Structured–Day Planner can make scheduling easier and more convenient for you. It will be helpful to plan major dates in the first few weeks of the semester to assist you in your scheduling efforts. Approach each class with a mindset of already planning what needs to be done each day by allotting time for that subject. Realizing that time can be on your side is one of the first steps to having a great semester.  

2. Stay organized 

Not only should students have great time management, but they should also be well organized in their efforts to achieve greatness. Organization is different for everyone, but you should make it a priority to always stay aware of deadlines and assignments and know where to find everything you need. There will be countless essays, presentations, discussion boards, and projects that can get students confused and swamped when trying to keep it all together. Having separate folders on your laptop for each course—or physical folders if you’d rather go old school—can prevent you from losing important information and documents through the chaotic school year. Make it a point to highlight certain dates on your syllabi that are essential to passing the class. If you’re using a schedule or planner, add in the dates of all the assignments listed on your syllabi. Set phone reminders beforehand for key dates throughout the semester. Organization is something that can help students feel in control of their environment and better able to handle unexpected changes.

3. Be engaged in class  

Being active and present in class can be a huge advantage for students. Sometimes the best ability is availability. It is your job as a responsible student to show up to class and actively participate in class discussions and assignments. Professors love when students are engaged and willing to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class or to attend office hours with the professor. They set aside that time for a reason—they want you to stop by! There will be times throughout the semester that you might have to miss class for sickness or emergencies, but if professors know you take the class seriously they’ll be better able to work with you and help you keep up.   

4. Have fun! 

College can be stressful at times. It can seem like the walls are closing in on you and there’s too much to keep track of. Take a deep breath and remember all you must do is your best. Getting proper rest and taking a break from school at certain moments throughout the week can elevate you during busy times. Set aside some time every day to tackle homework and other responsibilities instead of spending the whole week feeling anxious, then use the rest of your time to do what makes you happy. Explore new hobbies, hang out with friends, and take your mind off due dates for a few hours each day. Check The Den to see what activities are happening during the week and what clubs are looking for new members. Realizing that you can take control of your situation is one of the most important concepts you can learn to be successful.  

College is the time to learn more about yourself and develop habits that will serve you throughout your life. Follow this advice to have a productive and fun semester without burning yourself out. Make this the best semester yet! 


By Brian Sims ’22January 25, 2022