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5 Ways to Start the Semester Off Right!

Like most people of the people I know (including myself, of course) the first two weeks of school probably flew over your head. Being busy in search of textbooks, getting the hang of where your classes are, and settling in at college, you probably haven’t had the time or motivation to get back into keeping up with your schoolwork and setting up a healthy routine. It’s important to have a good plan from the start of a semester because a bad start can be a major setback, and make your life unnecessarily difficult. Now is the perfect time to plan ahead, while also making the most out of the relaxed beginning of the semester before the storm of midterms come our way. Here are five tips to keep in mind as your “how can summer be over already?” realization kicks in:

1. Keep up with schoolwork: Putting your schoolwork off at the beginning of the
semester can cause it to quickly pile up and leave you stressed and unprepared when midterms come around. It’s important to be up to pace with your classes starting at the beginning of the school year so you can set yourself up with good habits. Junior biochemistry major Erica Lynn keeps up with her school work to prevent it from piling up. “It’s good to meet new people and catch up with friends at the beginning of the year but the semester will start to go really fast after the first test,” she says. “Studying and going to office hours now will make you much less stressed later and will give you time to have fun then.”

2. Start looking into organizations you want to join: The beginning of every semester is the perfect time to start looking at organizations you want to be a part of. While the main mall is regularly occupied with organizations looking for new members, there are many new opportunities especially available near the beginning of the semester. There are also information sessions you can go to, to learn about the activities the org involves, and figure out if you really want to join.

3. Be realistic with your commitments: While you may be tempted to join almost every organization you hear about, it is good to keep in mind that moderation is key. It is better for you to pick a few clubs and have time to dedicate to them than to join many organizations, leaving you overcommitted and unable to achieve anything major in any of your organizations. Morgan Fredell, a junior human biology student here at UT says, “ There are a lot of organizations I would love to be involved in but my time is valuable. I pick just one or two and become super involved and then I get to know everyone well.”

4. Start thinking about study groups: It’s great to start getting to know the people in your classes now, and find a study group that works for you. This way, you won’t feel crazy stressed by the time midterms come along!

5. Have fun!: With classes just starting, you will find you have some down time. Enjoy
it! Take this time to meet new people, catch up with friends, and just relax. It’ll help
you stay motivated in school and transition from your summer break back to college
life.

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