Christmas break will be over before you know it and you’re beginning to realize that you need to improve your second semester. First semester consisted of too many late nights and countless «I’ll do it later» talks to yourself. Sound familiar? If you were focused too heavily on being the social butterfly around campus, you may want to re-prioritize to improve your second semester. Here are a few helpful tips that kept me in line in college!
1. Prepare Yourself with Proper Materials
Having the proper materials is the most important key to improve your second semester. This means going out to buy new notebooks, binders, pens, and sticky notes, as well as developing a new strategy to tackle all of your upcoming workload. Target is a great place to stock up on office supplies – last year I found a weekly post-it calendar that I used religiously. My plan of attack was to write everything down ahead of time so I would mentally prepare myself for the week ahead and it worked! Don’t let this overwhelm you, though. Just take a few minutes Sunday night before you go to bed to prioritize what needs to get done each day of the week such as what projects are due and what homework is due and when. As for the office supply materials, try color-coding your subjects; it worked like a charm for me!
2. Take Advantage of Office Hours
Professors don’t bite, I promise. This may shock you, but professors actually DO care to see their students succeed and that’s WHY they have office hours. If you don’t let them know that you are struggling in their class, they will think that you’re OK with a C-. I utilized office hours to not only get questions answered but also to ask for any additional projects/papers I could work on to raise my grade. I was a hard worker in college, definitely a nerd who’d sit in the front of the class, but if I felt myself slipping a bit, I’d go speak with my professor immediately to see if there was anything extra I could do or if they had tips/advice on how to study the material.
3. Utilize Your Planner
Planners were my BEST FRIENDS in college. I had real friends too, I swear, but there was nothing more special than the bond between my planner and I. Color coding is probably one of my favorite things to do so I made good use of crayons in college. I also have the worst memory in the world so unless I wrote everything down I would forget it after 5 minutes. If you found yourself forgetting assignments last semester, invest in a planner…they are life changing.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Why is it considered «nerdy» to ask questions in class? So you care about your grade…cool. So does everyone else even if they «pretend» not to care. Don’t feel stupid or intimidated to ask questions in or out of the classroom because that’s how you learn. If right now you’re thinking, «There’s no way I’m going to just start answering questions or asking questions in class» then don’t ask during class. Wait to speak with your professor after class or see him/her during office hours.
5. Time Manage
I was always involved in everything and often times spread myself too thin. I did become an expert time manager because of being involved in everything, though, because I learned how to plan out my days. Learning how to time manage takes commitment and planning. Planning begins with breaking down your day. Figure out how many hours you’re awake, what time you want to aim to get to sleep, and what activities need to be done day to day.
6. Pay Attention in Class
So this one is a no brainer, right? But I need to include it in the list because it’s too important not to mention. It’s so easy to get distracted by Mr. Hottie sitting next to you or get caught up in planning your upcoming weekend. Obviously it’s impossible to keep your mind quiet and pay attention 100% of the time, but make sure to keep up with notes and write down key words during lectures because it will pay off in the long run.
7. Prepare Study Guides
This is huge, ladies! Study guides will be your ticket to success. Combine notes that you take in class with notes you take from your book and put it all together. Color coding works very well in this case too because if you can make key words or important sections of your notes stick out to you, you will have a higher chance of studying properly and doing better on your exam. If your professor ALLOWS notes during an exam, definitely take advantage of typing up your notes and writing down everything!
8. Get Involved on Campus
Getting involved on campus trains you to be responsible and teaches you how to better time manage. If you know you have softball practice every day from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, then you’ll better prepare your day by getting work done before practice or after practice before bed. But make sure not to stay up too late trying to cram work for the next day.
9. Think about Your Major
The more time you put into picking a major, the happier and more relaxed you will feel during second semester. You will also be more motivated to get to higher-level courses, which will result in improving your semesters from now on. This is not a task that can be done in a day or even a week. Picking a major can be difficult and confusing. For those of you who already have a goal, that’s awesome! For those of you who are still struggling and maybe don’t really care too much about school right now because you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, start to think about what drives you, motivates you, and excites you.
Well ladies, these are some of the best ways to improve your second semester! I hope these tips help – remember to take one day at a time. What is one way you can improve this semester? Share in the comments!