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After seven weeks of relaxing, recharging and recreation, preparing for the spring semester can be nothing short of a challenge. Whether you spent your winter break binge watching Netflix or safely traveling, one thing is for certain: the familiar bustle of your daily school routine has been put on halt. With classes beginning shortly, finding the motivation to get back to the academic hustle is a must. Challenges aside, here are some handy tips that can successfully jump start your semester.

Invest in a planner

Getting back into a routine is a key component to sparking motivation. Beginning the day by intentionally setting goals and identifying daily tasks allows you to celebrate the small victories throughout the day. Personally, I try to keep a consistent schedule from week to week. This can include anything from waking up at the same time, taking note of daily chores, and highlighting important events or exams in the upcoming week. Afterall, planners serve the purpose of keeping you informed of future events. Take advantage of this by glancing ahead to future deadlines, appointments and outings. Organizing your week into a planner saves you the stress of forgetting things while boosting your drive to accomplish more.

Maximize your productivity

With my schedule growing busier and busier, finding the time to focus on schoolwork is half the battle. Designate certain windows throughout your day to devote solely to your academics. Whether it is in hourly increments or larger periods of time, boost your productivity by silencing your phone. Trust me when I say this works wonders. By disconnecting from social media for even an hour, you’re maximizing your efficiency. Not only are you able to check things off your planner, but you are able to know that the work you put forth was focused. However, spending long periods of time studying can take a toll on the quality of your work. Periodically reward yourself with a phone break or quick snack, but be sure to get the ball rolling shortly after.

Prioritize self-care

It is so easy to get caught up in all the pressing tasks that you lose sight of the things that lack deadlines. During the school year, I definitely fall into this habit at times. Self-care is just as important as a deadline for an essay or a doctor’s appointment. Our bodies need time to relax and refuel from our demanding schedules. Take the time to check-in on yourself. Are you eating and sleeping enough? Are you staying active during the week? Are you taking the time to do nothing, but focus on yourself? Self-care is different for everyone. What you do during this time isn’t as important as actually taking the time to care for yourself. I enjoy rewarding myself a few times a week with a spa night, good book, home workout or even some meditation.

Plan a girls' night out

Taking time to socialize is just as important as making time for yourself. I always like to maintain a healthy balance between work and socializing. Every weekend, my friends and I plan fun outings that keep up the much needed facetime and laughter. These can be anything from shopping sprees, weekend trips or even a night in watching movies. Treating yourself doesn’t have to end as the weekend does. Set aside some time during your week to grab a meal or plan a workout session. However, some weeks can be academically heavier than others. Take this opportunity to study with your friends and keep each other on top of things.

The list of tips to find a successful routine that fits you is never-ending. Find the things that bring you joy and motivate you to go the extra mile. Hopefully this is just a starting point to begin the semester on a high note.

Dharani Ramaiah is sophomore at the University of Kentucky majoring in Biology and minoring in Neuroscience. During her spare time, Dharani loves working out, reading, and planning outings with her friends. In the future, she hopes to become a physician to make a difference in and beyond her community. Her instagram is @dharani_ramaiah.
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