After winter break, transitioning to a new college semester can certainly bring up feelings of anxiety and worry, but it can also be an exciting time, filled with new opportunities for learning, self-growth, and new challenges. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-year student, senior, or returning to college as an adult learner, now is the time to set yourself up for success and incorporate a routine centered on self-care that will carry you through the semester.
These 8 tips are just a few ways to help your semester start on the right path to success.
- Get organized and start early
- Prioritize health
- Connect with instructors
- Meet new people and socialize – if even just a little
- Be mindful of expectations
- Locate on-campus and community resources
- Get sleep and create a routine
- Give meditation and mindfulness a try
1. Get organized and start early
Once the semester is in full swing, it can be challenging to get organized on the go, so start early. First, print your schedule and find your books early.
Before your classes get busy, implement a system to organize your coursework with folders, binders, and notebooks; locate an agenda or planner that you like; and create a system for keeping track of pending assignments. Plus, you should look ahead and try to plan out your coursework, especially if you have large projects on the syllabus.
Another way to improve your organizational skills is to create a workspace that is free of clutter and provides a comfortable environment to complete your work. Taking just a few minutes each day to create a checklist for the next day is a useful technique to stay on top of day-to-day tasks, minimize anxiety related to deadlines, and help you be more intentional about how you spend your time.
These 8 tips to stay organized in college will help you manage the coursework.
2. Prioritize health
Busy schedules and demanding coursework threatens self-care, but to thrive and avoid burnout, it’s crucial to feel healthy, both mentally and physically. The first step is assessing your current self-care routine and determining what is working and where to improve. Locate and visit recreation centers, counseling and wellness centers, student organizations, and welcome events. During the first week of this semester, see if you can choose one thing to incorporate into your daily routine to support your health, such as journaling, drinking more water, or doing some form of body movement.
These 7 tips for staying healthy in college will help you improve your habits and overall wellness.
3. Connect with instructors
A new semester means new classes and, most likely, meeting and getting to know professors you may not already know. Every professor has different expectations for students and varying views on classroom culture, so consider emailing your professor or instructor before classes start to introduce yourself, tell them why you’re taking the class, and offer any other relevant information that can aid in creating a connection and build a stronger relationship with your instructor.
4. Meet new people and socialize
Meet new people buy joining a student organization, introducing yourself to classmates, and attending campus events. During the first week of school, see if you feel up to attending welcome events or floor meetings in your residence hall or campus center to start creating new friendships. If you are an online learner, be on the lookout for study groups and virtual events.
Read on about how to make friends in college to create new connections with others.
5. Be Mindful of your expectations
Not everything will go according to plan. Understanding that can help you face adversity with a state of acceptance of the situation at hand. You don’t have to love all your classes or get an A in every class either. You are going to setbacks in school or at home when you are trying to focus, so make sure to remind yourself of that when things don’t go as planned.
Not everything will be perfect, which is why learning how to manage expectations to be sure you are ready for college can help you plan and overcome.
6. Locate on-campus and community resources
During a crisis or a time of need it can be challenging to locate the resources and support your need, so don’t wait. Now is a good time to seek out community and campus-provided services, such as the counseling center, Registrar’s Office, advising, and your student support team. Before an issue arises, and while you have a bit of downtime at the start of the semester, consider looking through your school’s webpage to find resources or offices that you might need in the future. If you are on campus, use the campus map to identify where the buildings and offices are located.
7. Get some sleep and create a routine
First, you need to start sleeping better again. Yes, you have to get used to getting up at a certain time and going to bed on time, which means setting alarms because it is going to take a minute to adjust to a sleep schedule again. Also, if you’re a person who loves routine, one of the best ways to adjust to a new semester is to spend some time mapping out a manageable course and study schedule, but don’t forget to add self-care tasks too, such as working out, spending time with friends, going to the grocery store, cooking meals, and reading or meditating. Consider buying an agenda or using an online tool during the first week of school to start envisioning what your routine for this semester will look like.
Need more help with planning? Here’s how to make a college routine.
8. Give meditation and mindfulness a try
Meditation offers many benefits. Meditation is a great way to better deal with stress, overcome roadblocks, and improve memory, focus, and mental clarity. By learning how to sit in the moment with your thoughts and making time to be present, you are better equipped to adjust to the new challenges a semester will present or better navigate moments of uncertainty. Try finding a space either at home or somewhere on campus where you can create a quiet environment and start working on your personal meditation practice. You can also tap into the powers of meditation through yoga, tai chi, or qi gon. Check in with your campus rec center or find an online video to get started.
This semester, try to remember to focus on the present to avoid becoming overwhelmed by tests, assignments, and other responsibilities coming your way. You’ve got this! If you begin to have feelings of mental unease, or you notice your classmates are struggling, find a counseling center on campus or in the community through the mental health resources page.