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8 Habits to Break this Semester

It happens every year: you start fall semester excited about your classes…then old habits start to kick in, and you don’t deliver on the promises you made yourself. Here are five tips that will make you more productive and (hopefully) take your GPA up a notch.


1. Stop procrastinating.

No, seriously…stop procrastinating. Close this window, and don’t reopen it until you’ve finished whatever you took a break from. No one likes spending all-nighters in the library simply because they couldn’t stay off of Facebook to finish that essay. Besides, if you finish your work early, you’ll have plenty of time to watch Netflix without thinking of whatever is due the next day

2. Don’t skip class.

Skipping class is dangerous because it so easily becomes a habit. Yes, it’s easy to skip your early class when your warm bed is begging you to sleep in…but go to class! You won’t regret going to class when midterms roll around, and you aren’t frantically looking to copy someone’s class notes.

3. Do the readings.

This is one thing we always promise ourselves, but we (more often than not) fail to follow through. Every professor is different—some will reiterate the entire reading in class, while some never mention the readings at all. Regardless, they’re assigned for a reason: to help you better understand the concepts covered in class. Plus, on the off chance that there may be a reading-specific question on an exam, you’ll be covered.

4. Be “present.”

Raise that hand and participate! If you consistently make relevant contributions to the class discussion, your professor will likely remember you. So later, when your dream internship or research opportunity requires you to submit professor recommendations, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

5. Make it Interesting!

Everyone comes across a boring class at some point—your success depends on how you handle that class. Surfing Facebook all through class (or skipping it—see number 2, above) might make the time pass more quickly, but you’ll likely get lost in the material while you weren’t paying attention. So if you find your Calculus class painfully boring, find creative ways to make it interesting by making funny sentences to help you remember equations or using food to illustrate a point. If all else fails, just find a cute study partner!

6. Hit the Gym.

There’s plenty of research that attributes working out to better focus and a higher energy level. If you schedule time in your day to hit the gym or go for a run, you’ll refine your time management skills—it might even keep you from procrastinating so much! Plus, it’s impossible to ignore the added bonus of how working out makes you look and feel in the long run.

7. Get Some Zzz’s.

This one might seem obvious: don’t skimp on your sleep. College students should get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but so many college students today are sleep deprived. As the semester progresses, students stay up late trying to finish all their homework and studying. The library gets busier while their beds get lonelier. Unfortunately, if you don’t get enough sleep you won’t perform well; while you might complete your assignments, it probably won’t be your best work.

8. Be Realistic.

Promising yourself that you’ll do 70 pages of reading, 2 homework assignments, and make flashcards for an exam in one evening is unrealistic. Planning to do too much work in one night will overwhelm you, and you might get even less work done as a result of feeling so overwhelmed. Remember to start your work early enough that it doesn’t all pile up!

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