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How to Conquer This Semester

Every semester brings new challenges. Each class, teacher, and assignment tests your discipline and determination in different ways. With so many things coming at you all at once, it can be easy to throw down your notes and power on Netflix. But, as we all know, this is never the right answer. Instead of choosing to give up and accept a sub-par grade, try following these tips from the beginning of the semester onwards. They’re all super easy, and you’ll be impressed with how much they truly help!

Get Organized. Really Organized.​

I’m talking color-coded, laminated, and highlighted. Starting off the semester with clear organization will help down the road as you’re searching for early semester notes during your midterm study sesh. By highlighting key points in your notes, handouts, and textbooks, you make everything easier to study. By keeping each class’s notes separate from each other, you stop yourself from wasting time sifting through notes later on. Find what works for you, even if it means hyper-organizing each class’s contents into different categories like tests, homework, and notes. Whatever you do, stay organized!

Sit Up Front.

While there’s no evidence saying that sitting up front causes good grades, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a correlation! People who sit up front tend to be people who get good grades. If you’re struggling in a class, or think you’re going to struggle, try sitting up front and making friends with the smart guys. By surrounding yourself with people more likely to pay attention, you’re already helping yourself. Plus, people who sit up front tend to develop more meaningful relationships with their professors. Also, people in the front row tend to participate more in class discussions, gaining them those coveted participation points!

Assign Yourself to a Study Buddy

No matter how good you are at a subject, you’re more than likely going to need study help sometime. Make some friends in your class, and secure yourself a study partner. Don’t choose just anyone, though! Make sure your study buddy is really serious about doing well in the course, or else you’ll both end up sinking. One way to ensure you get a good study buddy is to (can you guess it?) choose someone sitting in the front! When you two study together, make sure to do it in a place with no distractions. Yes to the library, no to the dorms.

Go to Class

You know that wonderful feeling on the first day of class when your professor tells you that attendance doesn’t count in the course? Well, it may not matter to them, but it should matter to you. Going to class is one of the best ways to get a great course grade. Doing homework and reading the textbook are also necessary to doing well in class, but how will you know what topics to focus on if you’re never there? Even if you end up playing on your phone all class long, you’ve more than likely absorbed some information, which is much better than none.

Leave Your Laptop at Home

I get it. Laptops are really convenient. It’s so much faster to type than it is to write, and e-textbooks are much cheaper to buy than regular textbooks. However, there is so much to distract you on your laptop. Why pay attention to the function of the slope when you can watch a dog rescue his owner from a burning building? Laptops may be a bit more convenient than regular pen and paper, but the distraction just isn’t worth it. If you’re super against writing down notes, you can always audio record your professor’s voice and transcribe it on your laptop once at home.

If, for some reason, you absolutely cannot live without your laptop, find a temporary site blocker, like StayFocusd. It’s a free app in the Google Chrome store, and can be set to block certain sites, like Facebook or YouTube, for a period of time. It can help you stay focused while you study, or while you’re in class!

No matter what you decide to do this semester, decide to do it well. Following these tips won’t guarantee you an “A,” but they will set you up for success. Go ahead and conquer this semester!

Adelaide is a senior at CNU pursuing a BA in English w/ an emphasis in writing. After graduation, she plans to become an Editorial Assistant in Manhattan. In her free time, Adelaide loves reading books, playing with her two wonderful cats, and spending time with her grandpa.
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