Returning to college from a long lazy winter break is difficult. Many college students have well over a month off before they are expected to return for spring semester. During this time students enjoy a variety of pastimes, from earning extra cash for next semester to spending time with family.
Even though school is just around the corner, many students put off preparing for the upcoming semester. When the first day arrives, these students find that they are overwhelmed and unprepared to begin class. Time seems to move more slowly for students: Classes feel longer, homework becomes an increasingly tedious task and it feels as though there is an eternity stretched out between now and summer break. With a little preparation beforehand, however, students can avoid feeling doomed before the semester starts.
If you go home during winter break, plan on returning to campus at least two or three days before spring semester begins. Many students wait to take the very last plane out before classes start, allowing no time for unexpected delays. As a result, these students often miss the first few classes of the semester or the chance to purchase textbooks for class. Allow time for the surprises, inconveniences and circumstances that you can’t anticipate so that they don’t interfere with your college success spring semester.
By now, you’ve received your grades from fall semester. If they aren’t what you expected, it may be time to reprioritize your personal schedule and goals so that you can get organized and raise your GPA over the spring semester. Identify where you fell short in the past few months. Did you skip class? Fail to complete homework assignments? Arrive late on a daily basis? Whatever the excuse, as soon as you can identify why you fell short of your goals, you can begin making new ones.
Clean out your folders and start fresh. Unlike high school, college starts twice a year. If you wouldn’t use a tattered notebook that has already been all but destroyed to begin a new year, avoid using a notebook like this for second semester as well. College classes are full of information; if possible make sure you have a notebook for each class. Organize your new materials to fit your new schedule, and store all of your old papers in a safe place that is out of your way. Old class notes are useful reference materials, but don’t allow them get mixed in with the current semester’s work. Know where all your classes are located and what your weekly schedule looks like.
You’re only half way to summer break. Don’t check your brain at the door when you return to campus for spring semester. Focus on achieving your goals for the semester and hold fast to the schedule you’ve outlined. The best way to break into second semester is to proceed full steam ahead - don’t let a little exhaustion stand in the way of your success.
It’s always tempting to blow off a couple of classes when school first resumes. Resist this urge. Establishing a consistent routine at the beginning of each semester is one of the best ways to ensure that your schedule is manageable. Skipping a class or two can unnecessarily put you behind before the semester is underway. Before you know it, you’ll have missed a quiz, homework assignment or study session and making up the points will require extra effort. It also helps to take at least one elective or "fun class" if your schedule permits...that alone will keep you thirsty for knowledge!
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