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Wellness > Mental Health

How to Set Yourself Up for Success This Semester

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNL chapter.



A successful semester starts on the first day. You can take steps now to get your semester on the right track. The bliss of syllabus week fades away fast, leaving you drowning in readings and essays. But you don’t have to drown, these steps can be your life jacket. Being on top of your classes from the beginning will save you lots of time and energy down the road, not to mention helping your mental health during the semester. So here’s how you can set yourself up for success this semester:

Set up your study environment

Your environment is a huge factor in your academic success. And each person thrives in a different environment. It’s important to determine what type of environment is best for you. Some people need music, some people need silence. Determine whether being in your dorm, home, or room is effective or if you need to head down to the library. For myself, I have a desk in my room where there is no clutter and little noise. Pick one or two ideal study spots for your studying this semester.

Set aside study time

Having the perfect study environment is useless if you don’t have the time to study. Once you pile on classes, work, extracurriculars, and social time, studying gets pushed aside and pinched. Take a look at your schedule and designate consistent study time each week. Obviously, the amount of study time you need varies from person to person and depends on your workload. But you should set aside multiple hours throughout the week. Catch and lock in time before it runs away from you. 

Plan out and write down your assignments

Professors will almost always have all the assignment deadlines and exam dates on the syllabus so you can prepare. You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy a planner or calendar, but that is definitely a great option that allows you to easily write down readings, assignments, and exam dates for all of your classes in one place. But if you don’t have a planner or calendar, writing down due dates in a regular notebook is also effective and useful. If you’re more of a digital person, spreadsheets or google calendars are also a great option for keeping track of your deadlines, and with the latter, you can even set reminders for your phone and computer. Having all of your assignments and exams written out in the same place ensures that nothing will slip or be forgotten. 

Read the syllabus for each class 

Most professors go through the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, but that shouldn’t be the only time you look at it. Make sure you read through each syllabus yourself. That way, you can get a good sense of what will be required of you for each course. It also gives you a chance to find things you are confused about or need clarifying. Mark important aspects of the course, including dates. Note anything you are confused about and ask your professor to clarify the next chance you get. Get to know the syllabus because it will be your resource for the rest of the semester.

Write down goals for the semester

Physically writing down your goals is proven to help you achieve them. Take some time and write down your goals for the semester. Write them somewhere where it is accessible for you to remember and check your progress. Write goals for your academic life, financial life, and personal life. Be as specific as possible using numbers, dates, and measurable aspects to be able to track and determine your success. Setting goals will focus you for the semester and give you drive and something to work to achieve.

These are some helpful steps for you to take to own your semester. College is stressful, no doubt, but taking these life-saving actions now will help ease that stress down the road. Starting good habits at the beginning of the semester will make it easier to keep doing the grind for the rest of the semester. These five steps to set yourself up for success will be your life jacket as the waves of the semester stress start rolling in. Fall semester 2019 is here, so let’s face it head-on, ready to succeed!

Halie is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Economics. She likes to spend her time watching Netflix documentaries, following politics, and hanging out with her cat Luna. This is her third year writing for UNL Her Campus and her second year as the Campus Correspondent for the chapter.