Congrats! You’ve almost made it through a crazy fall semester! You’ve had incredible experiences including a fantastic welcome week, cheering on various sports, amazing time and connection with the Lord through a number of events including chapel and SOMA, a great Corn Maze, an equally terrifying Haunted House, wonderful chorus, band, and orchestra performances, and an outstanding production of The Little Mermaid.
But there still are a few weeks left before you can call the semester complete, so don’t get too comfortable. Those few weeks after Thanksgiving and before Christmas can also be exhausting and overwhelming, making it easy to get stressed out. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. But fortunately, falling behind is completely avoidable. These are a few tips to help you keep up and finish this semester stronger than you started.
1. Focus on academics.
It’s important to remember why you’re here. We all have goals for our future that require a college education, and that’s a really good thing. When we lose sight of our goals, we can also lose our motivation. If you’re struggling on focusing on academics, there are many things you can do to help regain your focus. First of all, be prepared for your classes by doing your homework because it will help you engage better in class. Once you get to your classes, listen and take notes. It’s proven that taking notes with pencil and paper versus a computer will increase learning as well.
2. Put yourself first.
I’ve always heard it said, “If you are not full, you will not have anything to give.” This means that you need to be your first priority. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep; the average college student needs about eight hours a night. It’s also important to eat regular, healthy meals every day. If you are struggling in any classes, ask questions and get help. You can ask friends, professors, a tutor, or even a study group. Finally, it’s good practice to take 10 minutes of rest for every 45 minutes of study. Set a timer on your phone during study sessions and make sure to stand up and stretch, move around or grab a snack during your breaks. This will help you to study for longer periods of time and help you retain the information better.
3. Be organized.
Get organized and stay organized. Having an organized schedule, well-ordered notes and a plan for how to get everything accomplished isn’t just impressive; it’ll help you be more efficient with your time. Some easy ways to be better organized are to manage your time, make lists, and get a planner. Instructors expect you to study two hours outside of class for every one hour spent in class. Finding time to study as much as you need to and also having a social life can be a difficult balance, but it is possible. Be realistic with yourself and your time. Make a list of everything that you need to do in the next few weeks.Then, make a schedule for how to accomplish it, building in time for homework, work, church, rest and other responsibilities. It’s helpful if you know what your prime learning hours are. For some it’s in the morning, while others learn best in the afternoon or evening. Make sure you start with the difficult work when your brain is fresh, and work toward the easier stuff.The fall semester will be over before we know it. Let’s finish it well!