Well folks, we made it to second semester! For those of you who are just starting out this term, welcome! It may have seemed like a long road but 2021 is behind us.
To kick off both the semester and the year the right way, it helps to establish a foundation of good habits and have a healthy state of mind. To set you on the right track, we’ve compiled a list of six great ways to start the semester off right. Our hope is that as you find organization and peace of mind within your study habits, and that positive energy will carry over to other areas of your life as well!
#1: Set a Productive Space
As the weather gets colder (and with COVID restrictions) it’s a lot harder to just pop down to your local coffee shop for a deep study. For many students, however, it can also be difficult to get work done at home too. That’s why it’s a good idea to establish a ‘productive space’ separate from where you normally hang out and watch Netflix. This can be a desk, a chair, the kitchen table or an entire room! The key to this trick is making sure you only sit there when you plan to be productive. This way when you sit down to work, your brain will have an easier time transitioning between activities!
#2: Establish a Working Relationship with Your Professors
Maintaining a professional relationship with your teachers can often be the deciding factor between a nightmarish semester and a smooth one. Don’t be afraid to email and ask seemingly ‘unnecessary’ questions or to ask for clarification on something they’d said in the lesson. It’s a good idea to show your professor you’re interested in learning and improving your skills. This way, should you ever need to contact them for an extension or grace on a bad mark, your good reputation precedes you.
#3: Take an In-Depth Look at Your Assignments as Soon as They’re Assigned
We know, we know. This one is a lot easier said than done. But sitting down and fleshing out your projects right away makes a world of difference. This can even be done with a partner! You’ll want to read through and get an understanding what the assignment entails; what key ideas from the course do you need to understand to do this? Are there definitions or chapters of the textbook you should review first?
Break the project into chunks to get an idea of how much work each piece might take. Even if you don’t start your assignment until the night before it’s due (we don’t recommend this but hey, stuff happens right?), this way when your classmates hit you with the “have you worked on X project at all?”, you’ll have a proper grasp of everything you need to do.
#4: Get to Know the People in Your Program
This! There’s nobody around who can offer more relevant advice than the other students in your program! Especially if you’re headed into a field that requires a lot of creativity or collaboration with others. Making friends with the people in your course not only makes your college experience that much better, but it also gives you a great idea of what it’ll be like working in your chosen field. Be sure to maintain a friendly and professional relationship with your fellow classmates, as these will likely be the people you’re heading into the workforce with!
#5: Put on a Study Stream
No study buddy? No problem. Sometimes working in complete silence can be more distracting than talking to the person next to you. Try putting on a “study with me” stream in the background. Ideally this would be done on a TV or monitor separate from the one you’re working on.
Study streams are typically anywhere from 4-8 hour long streams with allotted breaks every 45 minutes to an hour. They feature a person sitting at a desk. Usually it’s just their hands, notes or laptop in the frame. Some channels will even include soft background music! These streams are great for those late night study sessions when your regular study buddy has already gone to sleep. They’re also super calming, which is great for that one ultra high-stress review sesh!
#6: Listen to Instrumental Music
We’re sure you’ve probably heard this tip before, but for good reason! Downtempo instrumental playlists are great for when you need a bit of background noise but nothing that will distract you too much. Playlists like this can be found on pretty much any music streaming service. You can also find plenty of 24/7 music streams on YouTube.
No matter which way you slice it, this semester will be amazing! We’re so glad to virtually welcome everyone back! If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out to us directly through the Live Chat function on the MSA website (Monday-Friday 8:30 am-4:30pm)
Written by: Kait Holloway
MSA Student Communications Assistant