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The start of the semester is an exciting time of year because it is a fresh start. We may not be able to predict how the semester will go, but what we can do is implement habits that will lead us to a successful semester. What we do now will affect us later, so it is important to start practicing these habits now. 

Improving your time management skills will be a lifesaver when finals come around. You can start by writing all the important dates from your syllabus in your calendar so that you are able to plan ahead. This will allow you to visualize when your busiest weeks will be, and help you structure other commitments around important dates. I also recommend creating or downloading an assignment tracker that allows you to write assignments and deadlines as they come; you will be so satisfied when you cross off the finished assignments on your list! If you do not want to create your own assignment tracker, then I recommend downloading a free PDF version from BobbiPrintables or you can always download an app, (my favorite would be Homework Pal). One of the best habits for time management is to do three tasks a day… including weekends! These things can be as small as reading 10 pages of a chapter to writing 1 page of your paper, trust me, this will ease some stress in the future! 

Another way to guarantee a successful semester is by setting goals for yourself. An example of a semester goal is to aim for a certain letter grade at the beginning of the semester. Not only will this push you to turn in every assignment, but it will also let you take advantage of the extra credit. Make sure to make small and achievable goals, they can be as small as attending office hours once a month. These goals can also push you to step out of your comfort zone, so if you want to meet new people, then perhaps planning a study group will push you to interact with others. Goals can also be non-academic; I personally like setting health goals such as aiming to exercise 3 times a week. It can be something simple as that, just remember to make them achievable. 

Lastly, the most important trick to have a successful semester is to stay motivated! Some days you will feel energized and ready to take on the day, but on other days it may be difficult just getting out of bed. The best way to visually stay motivated is to create a vision board of the type of future you want to create. This vision board can represent your dream house, career, and even an ideal work destination. For a better effect, hang your vision board by your working or studying area. Another way to motivate yourself is to write a list of reasons why you want to earn your degree. Oftentimes, we need to be reminded of why we started, and where we want to end up. Having a list will help you push yourself when you are not feeling so invested.  

I believe that if you manage your time, set achievable goals, and stay motivated, you are on your way to a successful semester! 


Kati Echeverria is a first-generation college student currently working on her M.A. in Strategic Communication at Hawai'i Pacific University. She has extensive knowledge of multiple subjects, including health, politics, and self-development. She aspires to help young adults navigate their college life and reach their goals.
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