The start of a new semester provides an opportunity for a fresh start. I often hear, “This will be my best semester. Ever.” But when I ask about clear steps to make that happen, I don’t always like the response. “I’ll try harder” is not going to work. Here are some ideas to help you have that Best Semester. Ever.
- Get Organized – get your materials, get your textbooks, get some food (healthy food).
- Write a schedule for the week
- Color Code your schedule: academics, social, exercise, leisure, sleep, and anything else you think needs to happen.
- Track your schedule. The first week you might not study as much as you need to later in the semester. How do you plan to use your time? You might be tempted to just engage in “leisure” activities (ahem, video games). I would prefer, however, that you GO OUTSIDE and get some sunshine. Get some extra exercise. Cook some healthy food with the intention of healthy leftovers.
- Modify your schedule. After a week or two, take a look at your color coded schedule and see if you are following your schedule, and determine if any portions need revision. For example, maybe you forgot to add in a routine element (Church! Or therapy!). Maybe you need to write in additional hours for a specific class. Or maybe you dropped a class and get to reallocate some hours.
- Be intentional. Live life according to your values. Is your highest value a healthy life (balance, exercise, adequate sleep, good nutrition, high quality social contacts) or is it truly spending time on Facebook and video games? If you are using time in a manner that is not consistent with your values, make a change!
- Write the assignments for the SEMESTER into your calendar. You have a syllabus per class. You actually know when tests are scheduled, and when papers are due. Write all that stuff into your calendar! Then back up a week (or more) and write in when you need to start working on tasks.
- Are you actively taking steps to have the best semester ever? Are you feeling balanced? If not, what needs to change?
- Most students get down on themselves and say unpleasant things to themselves. Skip that step and look for the positive steps you are taking toward success. Do you have a schedule written? High five! Did you make it to the gym some days? Great! Look for areas of success and see how you can expand that success.
This really could be your Best Semester. Ever. If it is, take stock of your success and see how you can replicate that in other areas of your life. You got this!