As a new semester approaches following the thaw of winter break, one can easily feel unprepared. Being bombarded with classroom notifications weeks before the semester begins, returning into a school pace, with countless hours of homework, exams, and projects ahead of oneself is the last thing anyone wants to do. For me, break allowed me to relax, catch up on books I wanted to read, and also let me work to make some money along the way.
In order to get back into the swing of things, I’ve found a few different small healthy habits can make one feel more eased in as a whole. For me personally, I have a school mindset and out of school mindset. Around mid-semester is when I get used to the rhythm of a new semester, and transitioning between these mindsets and getting to a regular pace can be a challenge.
A new semester schedule can mean new classrooms and professors. This makes me start having flashbacks to my first semester of school when I was lost and confused on where to even go. One of the first things I do to start is organizing my schedule. What I mean by that is to see when and where they are, and go through each class on their own to see what they require. Especially going through their syllabi helped, because a lot of times professors include calendars with major deadlines and estimated exam dates.
With that in mind, I also use an online task manager to keep track of deadlines for all the classes I have. I use TaskBoard, which is a Google service that lets you organize items into lists and also includes deadlines for when said things are due. Oftentimes I will also include my exams as well as assignments so I can see how far away they are.
Time management, with a heavy course load, is the hardest thing to do on top of extracurriculars. I am someone who likes seeing everything right in front of them, and this task manager allows you to have all of your classes with their deadlines put into one space.
Once I know my schedule, I then figure out time wise when to do homework and also do self care activities to relieve stress. Guided meditations, even for five minutes, help pace me so much and provide me with the mental relief and strength to relieve stress.
Also, once I am organized, I figure out when to go to the gym, basing my workouts on when I have classes. In my situation I also have two separate internships that I work for so communicating with them based on how I organize my schedule is also key to balance work and school.
The key takeaway is to provide a platform for one self to organize their classes within, in order to be mentally prepared and approach the second semester with a positive mindset without feeling overwhelmed.