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How to Succeed During the New Semester

Student Life

September 28, 2023

The official high of the back to school season has begun to dwindle down as we begin to focus more on our academics instead of re-connecting with friends or buying school supplies. With the new semester, new challenges arise, but with some tips, tricks, and motivation, this chapter of your academic career can be more successful than you've ever imagined.

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1. Start solidifying your routine

As we're heading into fall and away from summer, you may start to feel the fatigue and burnout that comes along with school. Every day you probably wake up, go to school, spend the day learning and studying, going home to do homework, and eventually fall asleep. While every student's schedule is different, one thing that everyone can agree on is having a boring routine can become mundane and you can fall into a slump.

What's even worse than a boring routine, you may ask? Having no routine at all. With no structure around, many things can begin to arise; stress, loss of control, and emotional distress. In order to be the best version of yourself, start off by listing all the things you want to do during the week and how you want to do them, then, make it fun! If you're looking forward to accomplishing the steps of your routine, you are more likely to spend the day productively.

To start off, FIX YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE! Teenagers are known to have the worst sleep schedule, they are also known to be the people that do the most (school, activities, social activities, homework, etc...). If you don't find a way to get in the needed eight hours of sleep, your day is going to start feeling muddy, you will have difficulty remembering things that you have learnt, and overall, you won't feel great. (And no you can't solve this with caffeine, you might even start feeling worse).

Know when you have to wake up to get ready for school, then count back eight hours. That is when you should go to sleep every week. I promise you won't regret having those extra hours of sleep. Next, you should count back all the tasks you need in order to be fully prepared for school. What will make you feel good and successful during the day? Make this a part of your routine every day. The structure is important. If you're well rested and feeling like your best self, school will seem like less of a burden.

When it comes to extracurriculars, make sure you have a calendar to keep track. This way, you can have a set idea of what most weeks are going to look like. You are so much less likely to double schedule yourself and you will feel much more prepared. This is the easiest way to know when you are available, and what your weekly routine is going to look like.

Your night routine similar to your morning routine should be planned out, but it may be fun to change it from time to time so your day feels less mundane. Maybe take a bath instead of a shower, do a facemask, read a new book, or journal. This is the perfect time to wind down and reflect on your day, and what you want to do differently tomorrow.

Planning out and knowing your schedule is the framework for starting your school year off strongly. It ensures confidence and productivity.

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2. Learn To Manage Your Study Time Efficiently

Once you have learned and solidified your schedule, you can begin to block out time to do your homework. One of the worst habits that students have is procrastinating. Leaving your final project to do at the end of the semester will feel fine at the moment until you have to stay up until three a.m. working on it.

Procrastinating is a leading cause of stress and fatigue. There are a few different ways to make it easier to get your work done on time. Here are some recommendations.

Keep a planner and make a weekly homework schedule. Whenever you learn of a new assignment, write down the due date but also the day you should do it so you don't forget. This way, you have a set time when you should have the work done and the actual due date.

If your homework can be done in less than an hour or two, do it the day it is assigned or as early as you can get it done. This way you can do it when the information is still fresh in your mind and it is the perfect review. Block off days to do longer projects and split the time equally.

This way, it can be finished with low stress. When you learn of a quiz or test from your teacher, it is best to begin studying one to two weeks before.

While this may seem simple at first, you will need to build up motivation in order to continuously keep your study schedule efficient, which leads us to our next topic.

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3. Find Your Motivation

Probably the most difficult part of beginning to find your success during the semester is finding the motivation to do it. It seems easier to just not put in the work when the outcomes are just so-so. Putting in the effort can feel so daunting and difficult, but remember that feeling when you do succeed and approach that in every aspect of your work.

Every person has a different motivation, something that leads them to their success, and you're the only person who can know what you need. The other part of finding motivation is to be balanced. You can't use temporary motivation all the time because then you will have one day of productivity and then become burnt out for the rest of the week, which can result in more stress. Instead, try to find the way your motivation arises and use it in a balanced form. Ways that people have found their motivation have been from watching videos on a topic, motivational speeches, creating Pinterest boards, journaling about past successes, visualizing what the future could be, and much much more.

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Every person is different in their definition of success and what they want to succeed in. The biggest takeaway is that you should always do what will benefit you. It will take a while to solidify your routine, find your motivation, and learn to manage your time efficiently, but once you have learned how you can be unstoppable.

Just remember this process won't happen overnight. Give yourself time, and don't beat yourself up when things don't go perfectly. Your future is you.

Simone Graczyk
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Writer since Jan, 2022 · 10 published articles

Simone attends an arts high school as sophomore in Colorado. She enjoys playing her flute, journaling, going out into nature, and volunteering at many different non-profits.