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10 Tips For College Students: Do's And Don't's Of Second Semester

Emily Mae Czachor |
January 17, 2014 | 10:43 a.m. PST

Contributing Writer

After a winter break of drowsy mornings, holiday treats and every season of Breaking Bad on Netflix, the start of second semester can be quite a shock for students. Because the re-adjustment to fast paced college life is undeniably chaotic and stressful, here are 10 tips to help college students begin second semester right:

1) Do stay organized from the start 

Don't let your laundry get in the way of your schoolwork. (Creative Commons/Google Images)
Don't let your laundry get in the way of your schoolwork. (Creative Commons/Google Images)

A messy living space can perpetuate equally messy academic habits. Don't shrug off the unpacking process; though it seems tedious and unimportant at your return to school, your neatly unpacked and stowed away possessions will allow greater thinking space in your dorm room. Clutter often prevents productive work, so aid your academic progress with a tidy environment. 




2) Don't empty your wallet to buy brand new textbooks

Tuition often excludes the cost of books, and a semester's worth of textbooks can amount to far greater than the cash you received from your babysitting gigs over break. Rather than squandering $600 and depleting your savings, rent textbooks when possible, or purchase those marked "used." You can start off the semester a bit less broke than the last.


3) Do give the Student Club/Activity Fair a second chance

If the excited bustle of fall semester left little room for non-academic activities, begin your pursuits at the spring semester Student Club/Activity Fair. Now that you know how much necessary time to allot to your studies, sign up for a few campus organizations to try something new or satisfy the hobbies you deserted in high school. Join a club soccer team, audition for an a cappella group, or participate in a volunteer program. Not only will you feel fulfilled, but a more structured schedule often encourages productive schoolwork. 


4) Do attend the first week of classes

Yes, these courses can still be dropped. But how can you be sure they are classes worth replacing if you don't attend the first week of lectures? It is tempting during this period of relative academic lull to spend long evenings out with friends, and consequently sleep through your series of morning alarms. However, getting acclimated to your schedule early as well as keeping up with homework will assist your later success.


5) Don't abandon your New Year's Resolutions 

A healthy body will sharpen your mind! (Creative Commons/Google Images)
A healthy body will sharpen your mind! (Creative Commons/Google Images)

This semester, pair academic health with physical health. No more candy bars at 2:30 a.m. while you're hunched over your chemistry textbook, or sugary cereals for all three meals. Stick to those New Year's Resolutions that you established a few weeks ago; set aside time in your day to work out at the gym, and incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Just because you have new obligations at school doesn't mean you have to renounce those you planned over break!




6) Do reserve time to reconnect with friends

Academic and extracurricular focus is important, but don't forget to enjoy yourself. During college, social endeavors are arguably as significant as academic. Be sure to see the friends that you've missed during winter break - just don't waste inordinate amounts of time. Ask them to pursue those New Year's resolutions with you, and catch up while jogging the track or bicycling at the gym.


7) Don't disregard offers to meet with your academic advisor

Although classes have just begun, it is never too early to seek help from your advisor. Any inquiry about scheduling, switching majors, or satisfying credits is better off being solved ASAP. Don't allow your small questions to become monumental issues. 


8) Don't form hasty judgements of your professors

You remember that professor from a previous semester - the quirky intellectual who spoke too quickly and seemed to assign an abundance of reading. Didn't your immediate narrow view of that prof cloud your ability to find the silver lining in the class? Enter this semester's classes with a clear, open mind and disregard bitterness; students tend to excel at what they enjoy.


9) Do learn from past experiences 

This is not a constructive habit. (By Emily Mae Czachor)
This is not a constructive habit. (By Emily Mae Czachor)

You have been blessed with at least one semester's worth of knowledge regarding the ins and outs of surviving college. Don't repeat past mistakes: scrambling out of your dorm five minutes before class begins, attempting to write the entirety of an essay the night before it is due, consuming six cups of coffee in one day, etc. Amend unhealthy behavior and emphasize constructive habits. 




10) Do keep a positive outlook 

You've done it all before. Late night readings and early morning classes may seem close to impossible after a month of mental relaxation, but just remember that you possess all of the abilities to accomplish the challenges of this semester. It's easy for apprehension and stress to weigh you down, so be sure to frequent study locations that are conducive to calm and productive work - like a quiet corner of the library.


Reach Emily Mae Czachor here



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