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Succeed this semester in five steps

by Mina Mazumder September 15, 2015
Succeed this semester in five steps

Step one: take a deep breath

When a new semester begins, we always tell ourselves that we will do better than the last. Most of the time, that doesn’t work out and we end up falling behind in our school work. Here are five helpful tips to stay on top of your game as this new semester unfolds.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

1-    Avoid procrastination

We’ve all been there: we tell ourselves that we still have time to write that assignment that is due tomorrow but we end up putting it off to the last minute. In order to break the cycle of procrastination, it is important to change a few daily habits and maybe even your environment. According to Life Hack, a website specializing in productivity and lifestyle, it is important to break an assignment into little sections, which makes your work seem less overwhelming. Sometimes your environment can affect the way you work. Try studying and doing assignments at the library instead of at home where you know that there are many distractions. If you have an agenda from the CSU, page 21 goes into detail about how to deal with procrastination.

2-    Get enough sleep

On average, adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each and every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While many of us as aware of this, we never seem to abide by this rule. Sleep is vital for students since it helps the body rest and recover from a long day while the brain works on regenerating cells. Getting enough sleep can actually help you retain information from studying or class lectures. According to Healthy Sleep, a resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep has an important role in memory, which is crucial for taking in new information. Some great tips given by the National Sleep Foundation include following a consistent sleep schedule, since that helps to regulate your body’s sleep patterns for a good night’s sleep, practicing a relaxing night routine away from lights and electronics, exercising daily to relax muscles, and avoiding alcohol before bed.

3-    Have an agenda

You might have heard this a million times but using your agenda is important in staying organized, because you can easily keep track of what assignments are due and which ones should have priority. Complete assignments that are due sooner before diving into the ones due later. If your agenda comes with a  full-size calendar for each month, use different coloured pens for each class and write in when all of the semester’s assignments are due as soon as you receive a course outline. This will help you see your entire semester in terms of work, and you can determine the busy weeks from the quieter ones. Make sure to check your agenda regularly; make it a daily habit.

4-    Never skip class

You might think that class lectures are redundant and time-consuming because the course content given by your professor is available in the textbooks or online, but studies have shown otherwise. According an article in the Economics of Education Review, studies have found that there is a positive correlation between class performance and a student’s attendance. Statistics show that a student who regularly attends class performs significantly better during mid-terms and final exams when compared to a student who voluntarily missed several classes. Making a habit of attending class puts you on the right track.

5-    Stay motivated

Feeling lost? Ask your professor questions—he or she won’t bite. Don’t let any doubts block your way to success. The clearer an idea you have of what to study or what to write for your assignment, the better you will score. Creating goals for yourself is also a great idea to feel motivated to do better this semester; tell yourself that if you do well on an assignment, you’ll buy yourself dessert or go to the movies with friends. Write down a list of assignments, and next to that, write what rewards you will give yourself when they are properly completed.

While these five suggestions might be hard to maintain throughout the semester, make small goals for yourself, and you will see results as you go. A little progress is better than none at all.

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