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Realistic Study Tips For the New Semester

It’s that time of year again: the start of the fall semester, one of the most fun and stressful times of the year. If you’re an incoming freshman I’m sure you’re stressed out about the academic side of college – I know I was – but I’m here to give you some realistic advice about how to not just survive but to also thrive.

1.     Procrastinate Responsibly: I wish I could tell you to not procrastinate, I really do, but if I did that I’d be a hypocrite. Not procrastinating is a challenge especially if you decide to try and go cold turkey, so instead figure out the best way to procrastinate. If you know you can do your homework for class 1 in 30 minutes while it takes your multiple hours to do one assignment for class 2, plan accordingly and do the more time-consuming work first. However, make sure you give yourself enough time to get the other work finished or else you may end up regretting it.


2.     Don’t Force Yourself to the Library: Everyone goes on and on about the magic of studying in the library and while I definitely find it to be a great place to study others think differently: Sometimes it’s too crowded, sometimes there’s too much pressure to study well, and sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. If that’s the case there are lots of other places on campus that don’t include your room: for example, I enjoy studying at Festival and in the EnGeo Building while some enjoy studying at SSC or on the quad. Don’t feel pressured to study in the library, study where’s best for you.


3.     Know Your Limits: It’s great to challenge yourself but it’s also perfectly acceptable to give yourself a break. You’re only human and sometimes taking 17 or 18 credits isn’t worth the stress and exhaustion. You’re at college to grow as a person and that means having experiences outside of the classroom. Have fun with your friends, join different clubs, and get off campus, don’t let the academics of college smother you. Don’t feel ashamed for dropping a class either it’s really common. I just dropped a class this semester because the pressure had me in tears by day 3 and that’s not how I wanted to spend the semester. Push yourself but don’t kill yourself.


In short, do what works best for you and helps you be the best you can be. Sometimes finding your academic groove takes time, but trust me it’s worth it!!  


Emily Bordelon is a biotechnology major and a member of the class of 2020 at James Madison University. She enjoys hanging out with friends and family, hiking in the Shenandoah Valley, watching Netflix, and exploring new places. 
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