Getting Through the Semester, One Day at a Time

Lisa Marie Velesrubio
Contributing Writer

Have you ever been lazing around on a Sunday night, thinking about how much you don’t want to go to class the next day? It happens to the best of us. The good news is, this can be avoided! Here is a selection of study tips to get you through this semester.

1. Buy a planner
Invest in a planner, and use it. In a world of increasingly technological advances and a plethora of productivity apps, a traditional planner seems kind of archaic, but phones can be admittedly distracting. Chances are, you’ll forget that you wrote down next week’s 10-page essay and only remember when you pass by a classmate frantically working on theirs the night before.

Your planner will be your best friend for the semester. Bring it with you everywhere. I’ve found that writing down assignments for the day they are due is more efficient than writing them on the day you get them — it helps you keep track of how much time you have left.

2. Read the syllabus
This is your official cheat sheet for the semester, given by your very own professors. They have all their policies on attendance and grading, their expectations, and–most importantly–dates.

This is where your new planner will come in handy. Write down exam dates and times (and location) in the monthly calendar, as well as the due dates for big projects, quizzes, and tests.  It may seem a bit strange to do this so early on in the semester, but trust me — you’ll be thankful you did later on.

3. Find good study areas
Study areas are generally quiet and have an air of productivity, the most obvious being the library or empty classrooms. Never study on a bed. I have watched people convince themselves they can study anywhere…only to fall asleep when they try to read 80 pages of “Crime and Punishment” at 11pm.  Use a desk, a table, anything that forces you to sit up and focus. If you have a big test coming up, try studying in the classroom the test will take place in.

Try to avoid places that are crowded and noisy. If you’re studying in a group, be sure that everybody will be studying and doing work as well. Even if these are your best friends, you need to find the best environment for you to focus; this might not be in your own room, so try different things out!

4.  Ask for help
If you really need help, talk to your professors. A lot of them really care about your learning and want you to succeed.  Reach out and tell them what you need help with, or even for more study tips for their particular class.

Most importantly, make sure that you’re in the learning mindset. You are here to learn and to gain knowledge and skills, not just to get a good grade. Be learning-oriented, not grade-oriented. Don’t forget to breathe. Take things one day at a time, and you can get through the most difficult semesters. Good luck!

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