By Yvonne Liu
Hopefully, you had a great break with the holidays. While you may not be
jumping up and down at the prospect of starting a new semester so soon after
just surviving through finals, weíve all got to face reality. And a new semester can
work much like a new year. Got some resolutions?
Itís always good to set goals
for yourself, no matter how little they may seem. Like dieting, itís better to be
realistic. How many people do you know say they want to lose 50 pounds by
Spring Break and are adamant about going to the gym every day? Little by little,
these people may slowly hit an invisible wall. Instead of going to the gym seven
days a week, they go for five, then three, then maybe not at all by the end of the
first month. And those 50 pounds? Never mind! Instead, you can be someone
who realizes your own limits, and make resolutions that stick throughout the
1) Plan ahead
Donít be discouraged by what may seem to be an overwhelming course
load during your first few days of classes. Purchase your textbooks, keep
your syllabi in easy to access places, and note due dates on a master
calendar. With the right tools, you can remain organized, efficient, and
very much in control of your schedule for the next 10 to 20 weeks.
2) Donít be intimidated
Your syllabi may become your best friend or worst enemy. Since you will
be looking at it frequently, it is probably better that you consider it a useful
tool rather than the reason why you canít go out with your friends this
3) Break the semester down
Stay on top of your assignments, and treat each one step by step. Donít
look too far ahead to the midterm or even final. Instead, concentrate your
efforts in chronological order. Remember that each new assignment is just
as important as the last. Itís always good to set small goals, whether itís
working with an unplugged phone to minimize distractions or reading that
Astronomy 101 book an hour a day after dinner.
Of course, some weeks you have to juggle not only your schoolwork but a
social outing, sport practice, and even a few club meetings. Weíre all human and
need to get out from under that stack of library books once in awhile to catch a
breath of fresh air. And in-between a pizza break and going to the movies with
your dorm mates, you sort of pushed studying for that first exam way into the
back of your headóuntil itís time for bed. Forget small goals, what you need are
ways to retain the material with only six hours on your side.
Take a shower or wash your face to quickly revitalize yourself.
- A stack of candy bars and sodas are sure-fire sugar boosters. They
may only offer short bursts of energy, but hey, youíre not looking to win
a marathonóyou just need to make it until the exam is over, and then
you can crash.
- Take thorough notes on note cards. Then again, it may be too late for
that now, but they will greatly aid in studying when finals come.
- Coffeeóstrong and black will do. Or if you donít like coffee, try Red
- Work in a well-lit room.
- Get up and stretch for at least 2 minutes for every hour you are
- Make sure you set your alarm clock for at least an hour prior to your
test time just in case you fall asleep.
- If you feel sleepy, take another shower.
- If another shower doesnít help, tell yourself how horrible you will feel
when you get the exam back with a big, fat F.
- It you donít care about the F because you have five more tests to make
up for it before the end of the semester, then you shouldíve hit the sack