Tips for Success This Semester

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The start of a semester can be a stressful time for college students and that goes beyond just freshmen. A new semester requires looking at all the new coursework and expectations, seemingly all at once, with the pacing of the classes seeming to move forward without you at times. According to the article from The American Institute of Stress, Stress: An Epidemic Among College Students, “students are not getting nearly enough sleep because of the amount of pressure on their shoulders. They reported that eight in 10 college students experience frequent stress.” This is a significant amount of stress for students to be dealing with, and it can feel even heavier at the start of the semester.

By all means, start-of-the-semester stress is a relatable experience, but it does not need to be the norm. With the right tools and information, the beginning of the semester does not need to be such a stressful time. In fact, here is a list of some key tips that should help the first few weeks of the semester feel a lot less challenging and a lot more doable.

1. Establish Strong Social Connections

Through the beginning of the semester, it is way too easy to get caught up in the onslaught of assignments and future workloads. In fact, a great deal of the stress many students happen to face at the start of their school year is due to lacking a sense of community support while they face new expectations and work. This is where it becomes crucial to not just make friends, but to build a community of individuals who can help you work through new material, as well as provide opportunities for relief from the workload every once in a while. Not only can this boost confidence in ones’ ability to handle the tasks they are faced with, but it can make the time spent at UIS that much more enjoyable.

2. Invest in a Planner That Works

Now, nearly everyone goes on and on about planners and how amazing they are, but sometimes you just do not feel like a planner works for you. The real issue presented here is that the planner you are using is not designed to fit your needs, meaning you naturally are not going to find it incredibly useful when you need it most. This means it is important to set some change aside and plan (pun intended) to buy a planner that has the layout and design you need most. Some examples of planners to look into are The Happy Planner, Maalbok Planners, and Erin Condren.

3. Change your Perspective

This has quite a few applications, but we are only going to touch on two of them. Firstly, you are not Omni-man. Nor are you Voltron or Bruce Banner – but by all means if you understand those references, you know that they did not all have their lives together either. The point is, nobody is expecting you to be superhuman, flying through assignments the day before and knowing all the answers.  As a human, it is normal to need extra time to process new information or to work on one thing at a time. Work within your limits, and you will find things becoming a lot easier on you. Alongside this, it is not necessary to understand anything on the first try; starting strong is great, but even better is adopting a growth-based mindset where you acknowledge that you can perform better with time. When it comes to perspective, it is also important to alter the way you perceive your education if you are going to find success in it. It is not just about some daunting goal several years away or some exam five weeks away. If you can create a habit of focusing on one day at a time and handling what you can before thinking about the big picture, things could feel less overwhelming from the very start.

These are not the only resources available to students, as there are many other ways to make the start of the semester significantly less stressful. But if there’s anything to keep in mind overall, it is that most problem-solving requires additional tools to get something done; the same goes for how you handle the beginning of the semester.