Welcome back to Madison, everyone! There truly is nothing like rolling back into town on a bright and sunny day with a high temperature of a whopping 7 degrees. But despite the weather, I can’t help but feel the excitement in the air that only means a new semester is here in Wisconsin. Maybe there is a class you’ve been dying to take that you finally got off the waitlist for, maybe you got a great new haircut that you just can’t wait for your friends to compliment you on (oh wait you guys didn’t notice that I chopped 4 inches off of my hair… really? Tough crowd), or maybe you were just really bored at home and could not wait to get back to your dorm/house/apartment/other living spaces in order to be surrounded by friends and endless opportunities to mingle, relax, and get back to your pre-break routine. Whatever floats your boat, WE’RE BACK! Let the good times roll.
Although if some of you readers are like me (dear God I hope you are, or else these little side jokes probably aren’t that funny or amusing), it takes a little more than just physically being back in Madison to really feel ready and prepared for the new semester ahead. I am no expert, but here are my views on coming back to school, a little advice, and (hopefully) some entertaining perspectives on taking spring semester by a storm. And I know were all just dreading this cold weather, but here’s a picture what a spring semester in Madison looks like:
Meet someone new! I know, I know. You totally love your existing clique of friends. You talked to them, like, everyday over break! But the spring (why is it called spring semester anyway its literally negative degrees here) is all about starting fresh and making changes. Branch out! Talk to the girl with the cool boots and nice hair that sits next to you in your Philosophy discussion section! All my life, my parents have urged me to meet new people, look them in the eye, and form a bond or connection. I used to find this tedious and embarrassing, but it has vastly improved my social skills and has actually opened my eyes to the amazing personalities all around us everyday. Although my friends who know me well probably find me outgoing, I definitely come off as a shy person. One of the most terrifying things in life is putting oneself out there for the world to see, but going out on a limb has huge pay offs. This simple fact I have discovered is the one thing that breaks the shyness barrier. You may meet a new friend, a boyfriend, a study partner, or at the very least just experience normal human contact (a.k.a. an interaction NOT through Facebook or instant message).
Make a schedule! Was last semester totally hectic and out of control? Did you feel like you were constantly approaching deadlines in class? Was there just absolutely no time to go to the gym and get to sleep at a normal hour? Well I hope this doesn’t shock any of you, but there is enough time to do all of these things. College allows us to enjoy a certain luxury, and that luxury is time. Without being confined to one building for seven hours a day, five days a week like in high school, college students like you and me have a new abundance of time that may seem great for taking naps and watching Netflix, but if properly utilized will make our lives a whole lot less stressful. My advice is to sit down with your class grid and physically write down (yeah people, I mean actually rediscover what your handwriting looks like and use a paper and pen rather than a laptop) what time your breaks in the day occur and what you will do with that time. Make sure you wake up early enough to at least grab a small breakfast, budget in time to hit the gym, get some work done, and designate meal times. It is easiest to follow a schedule if times for certain activities remain pretty consistent throughout the week. While no one is perfect and I don’t expect to follow my schedule exactly as I plan it week after week, preparing before the work begins to pile up will provide structure and maybe ease some anxiety regarding class, a social life, and the ever so needed “me-time.”
Enjoy the old times. In my early childhood I did what any self-respecting kindergarten aged girl would do and I joined “Daisies”. Although I only made it in Girl Scout’s until graduating the “Brownie” program, I do recall a few lessons learned in the form of song. “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.” This really does hold true in college. It is a new semester and I know that I already advised you loyal Her Campus readers to make new friends. However, there is little more comforting in this world than the feeling of just being around people who know you best. Going home for break is a time to reconnect with family, high school friends, etc., and there may be a certain degree of sadness that occurs when that break period is over. As excited as I was to come back to school, I still found myself getting a little teary eyed walking through the LaGuardia Airport after just getting out of my parents car and saying goodbye to friends I’ve known most of my life just the night before. Being home for a month (or if you were lucky enough to spend one week in a tropical/warm location and three weeks at home) does not change the amazing friendships you left in December. Everyone needs a little time to get back in the swing of things, but trust that the comfort of being around “old” friends made in Wisconsin will return back to normal in no time.
So there you have it, people! Those are my three tips, but I really just want to emphasize that getting back to a productive and content state takes time after a month of non-stop relaxation, food, vacation, and time spent on the couch. Go at your own pace, strive to improve every day, and spring semester will be even better than the fall!