New (School) Year, New Me: 3 Ways To Own Your Fall 2020 Semester

With so much happening in the world every day, 2020 is just about ready to walk out the door. You might wonder if COVID-19 will as well. We can only hope that within the next few months, things will continue moving forward and we'll be able to take care of our health and well-being. Many students are looking ahead to what the fall semester brings. Even with social distancing measures implemented on campuses, there are endless ways to maintain academic and social success. Here are some of my top tips to share. 

  1. 1. Challenge yourself. 

    A new school year creates many new opportunities that allow you to step outside of your comfort zone. Challenging yourself by setting measurable and attainable goals, whether big or small, brings you one step closer to progressing towards self-improvement — physically, mentally, emotionally, academically, and socially. The possibilities can range from adapting to a new fitness routine or diet, trying out self-care tips, forming stronger relationships with friends or family, making more of an effort while studying, or becoming involved within the local community. I decided to take on learning an additional language on top of my studies (Korean) as well as enrolling in a virtual semester-long internship. I'm doing all of this without the use of an actual paid job that would’ve exposed me to real-world and hands-on industry experience.

  2. 2. Find your passion (& stick with it!)

    Notebook with "create a life you love" written on it

    With the extra time we have due to the flexibility of our courses (since most of them are remote and lenient with coursework), this is the green light to go ahead and explore the interests that motivate you. It's important to find your passion, something that is considered worthy of investing your time and energy in. If an activity doesn't appear to be as fun, exciting, or worthwhile, then maybe it wasn't for you, and that's alright. For instance, when I attended the first meeting for an organization that I wanted to be a member of, I immediately knew that joining would benefit me personally and professionally. The Pi Delta Phi Honor Society at UCF focuses on what I'm pursuing and studying as a minor, the French language. This organization gives me the chance to improve my French-speaking skills and interact with other students with similar interests. Whether you're studying French or not, this organization allows students to immerse themselves in the language and culture in an environment free of judgment. 

  3. 3. Expect the unexpected.

    neon sign "people fail forward to success"

    The most amazing feeling that comes with finding your passion is the experiences you encounter along the way, which challenge you and help meet your goals. I can say that learning Korean will help me achieve my goal of engaging in basic conversations with locals, as I plan to study abroad in Korea. It also helps me further understand the K-Pop culture, dramas on TV, and song lyrics of mainstream artists. My virtual internship offers a lot of useful information and resources that will prepare me for the professional world through listening to guest speakers, getting networking experience, and applying specialized skills that can lead me toward landing a full-time position in the future. Once I became a part of an academic student organization, I was able to expand my social circle — I met people that connected with me on a personal and professional level, and who offered genuine support and friendship.  

As you continue your journey into the Fall 2020 semester, no matter who you are or what you're studying, remember you have an endless amount of resources and support out there for you. Continue challenging yourself and finding out what you're passionate about, and all of your hard work will be worth it in the end!