This story was originally published in the Jan. 26 issue of Fourth Estate.
Coming back to school after winter break can be tough. Here is how to start the semester off right.
1. Get excited
Find ways to get yourself re-energized for the New Year and look forward to all the opportunities this semester could hold for you. Maybe plan a trip to visit friends at a different school or see a concert in D.C. If you are already waiting for spring break, try creating a countdown to give yourself a visual idea of the time you have left until then. Use a dry erase board to make a personalized countdown in your dorm room, or set up a easy countdown on your phone with apps like “Countdown Event Reminder” or “T-Zero Countdown Timer.”
2. Set goals and get organized
It is easy to get behind on your school work (like you did last semester), but getting organized is an easy way to prevent yourself from a late night cramming or essay writing. Use free tools like the Gmail Calendar to keep track of your classes, assignments, and exams. Setting goals is another great way to have a productive semester. Make some second semester resolutions and actually write them down where you will see them. This way, you can remind yourself how you want to improve by the end of the semester and can work daily to achieve your goals.
3. Put yourself out there
Get social this semester and meet people outside of your close group of friends! Say hello to the person you sit next to in class, or join a new club on campus. Getting to know your teachers better by dropping by their office hours is not a bad idea either. You can also put yourself out there by try changing up your typical (perhaps boring) routine and trying something new! This can be as simple as changing up your bagel order at Einstein’s or going to see your first Center for the Arts performance on campus.
4. Work out and eat right.
Making sure you are taking care of yourself is vital in making sure your semester does not go sour. Make plans to go to the gym with a buddy or take advantage of the free fitness classes offered in the RAC and Aquatic Fitness Center. You can also try making little changes to your eating habits such as starting your meal at Southside off with a salad or limiting the nights a week you eat at Pilot House. While it is important to stay mindful of what you eat, be sure to treat yourself every now and then.
5. Follow through
Getting yourself off to a good start in the semester is one thing, but following through with your workout routine and academic goals is another. Especially when Netflix starts calling your name. The most important thing to remember in avoiding the second semester slump is consistency. Keep motivated throughout the semester by checking in on your goal lists and staying on track. Don’t just hope for a great semester this year, make it one!