Second Semester – 5 Ways to Prepare
ollege and university students will be flocking back to campus over the next few weeks as their respective winter breaks come to a close. Emotions are mixed, some students clinging on to every last second of break while others eagerly are counting down until they return to a parent-less life. Regardless of your position, classes start soon. It’s time to shake off the cobwebs and get ready to hit the books. However, to avoid the stress of school, I’ve found some tips that should help keep you level-headed at least until Spring Break.
1. Working Out – I find it very important to get a regular workout routine when away at school. I experienced both sides during my first semester of college: some weeks I worked out every day; others the only exercise my body received was from walking to class. It’s no coincidence that I felt happier and more upbeat the weeks I cranked a few miles out on the treadmill. Going to the gym before, between, or after classes can also help to clear your mind. Think to yourself, “This is some stress-free alone time I have for the next hour or so” and embrace it! Your mind and body will thank you.
2. Yoga – Speaking of having your mind and body thank you, take advantage of yoga (or any) of the free classes that your school’s rec center offers! Yoga goes along with relaxing as you work out, but I find it takes working out a step further as far as resting your brain goes. I can’t talk about yoga without bringing up quite possibly the greatest thing ever for a college student (besides dollar draft night): SAVASANA! At the end of each yoga session (at least that I’ve ever been to,) the teacher will play some peaceful melody, perhaps dim the lights, and tell the class to close their eyes and simply relax. This is what makes doing “downward dog” and all the other positions worth it: this five to ten minute period where one can simply let everything go.
3. Sleep Early/Study Later – I may be alone in this, but my sleep pattern somehow got worse over my break. College nights usually ended around 1:00 AM at the very latest for me during the week when I climbed into my lofted bed and crashed to the noise of Sportscenter. Come break, with no 8:00 AM classes or finals to prep for, falling asleep at 3:00 was early for me (I blame Netflix.) That said, I am fighting to get on a better sleep schedule before classes start for me on January 7th. Sleep, to me at least, comes across as the most vital thing for my maintaining good grades and being more productive all around.
4. Develop a Pattern – Once you get used to your second semester classes, try to develop a plan that you follow close to every day. For example, on my Tuesday/Thursday class days last semester, my day almost always went as follows: wake up for my 8:00AM class (coffee optional), return to dorm for a two-hour nap, attend my back-to-back Theatre and Economics classes, grab a quick lunch, head to a coffee shop and study until dinner. I felt comfortable with this routine; so much so, in fact, that my T/Th’s started out as my least favorite class days, but shifted to my favorites by November.
5. Study Spots – I think it’s important to find that special place (or places) that you can buckle down and study in when the time comes. I have three that come to mind immediately, and when I think about it, I probably did at least 95% of my studying among those three spots. Depending what atmosphere I’m in the mood for, I’ll pick one of the three. Usually for writing papers, I feel most relaxed at either a coffee shop or bakery; the fourth floor of the library is my haven for prepping for tests and finals. (This is an article I wrote about study spots earlier this year: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/5-study-spots-to-try-this-finals-season )
These are several ways I’ll be readjusting to being back in school. Hope this tips help and good luck on finishing the year strong!