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New Semester, New You

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 semester.

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 weekend.

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.

  1. Take a shower or wash your face to quickly revitalize yourself.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Coffeeóstrong and black will do. Or if you donít like coffee, try Red Bull.
  5. Work in a well-lit room.
  6. Get up and stretch for at least 2 minutes for every hour you are cramming.
  7. Make sure you set your alarm clock for at least an hour prior to your test time just in case you fall asleep.
  8. If you feel sleepy, take another shower.
  9. If another shower doesnít help, tell yourself how horrible you will feel when you get the exam back with a big, fat F.
  10. 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 hours ago.
Sources: Helpineedto.co.uk, TheSemester.com


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