New semesters are times of rebirth! They are blank slates! They give us the chance to refresh ourselves, to try something new, to be better! Here are six study strategies designed to help us all get back on track with the new semester.
This post is officially subtitled “Gabi’s To-Do List for January 22nd.” Just in case you wondered.
Schedule any appointments you need ASAP. I personally need to meet up with my advisor, because right now I really don’t know what’s up with my language requirements. I also want to set up a standing appointment at the counseling center, because I’m about to take on 7 classes as a grad student, and counseling just seems like it might be.. Nice, you know? Figure out who you need to talk to now to make the rest of the semester run smooth. Then ask them nicely if you could meet up with them, when, and for how long. You can even do this the week before school starts, and beat the rush!
Figure out your textbooks. Specifically, your first week of classes should be spent judging which textbooks are truly “mandatory.” Get any optional ones you can afford, of course. But sometimes mandatory textbooks are really online codes you can’t return bundled with a new textbook, and you buy them in a haze of “Responsibility,” and then on the first day of class you find out they’re optional, and THEN you spend the entire semester pissed over the $200 you spent on a code you can’t resell and a textbook you never open.
Don’t be me. Figure out what’s really necessary before you buy anything.
Start practicing/studying IMMEDIATELY. Seriously, your first week of classes is super important for setting the academic tone of the semester. If you make yourself actually sit down and practice/study every day of the first week, when you don’t have a ton to do yet, then you’re building that habit up for when you have a TON to do. Anything to preemptively kill that urge to procrastinate, yo.
Set a bedtime. What? Sleep is one of the study strategies? Yep. It’s important! I’m lucky enough that my earliest classes this semester are at 11am. However, I’m still going to set a hard bedtime of midnight for myself on weekday nights. I have NO REASON to be up until 3am – “just because I can” is bad for me and doesn’t count. I know I get nothing done after 10pm (usually – check the time this posted to Patreon, whoops), so why waste so much of my awake time during my least productive hours? Figure out your best times, and set a bedtime to reflect it. It’s not boring, it’s responsible.
Get real food. Get a bag of baby carrots. A package of string cheese. A bag of clementines. Bread and peanut butter. Anything to have in your place that is real, not-food-service food. If you have a real kitchen, go grocery shopping! It is so much cheaper and healthier for you than ramen and cafeteria cheese burgers!! You will feel so much better!!!
Sign up for some form of exercise commitment. I’m dedicating this semester to getting Strong. I’m hopefully starting a weightlifting program my first week back, because my body is my instrument, and I need to take care of it. All the knowledge and skill in the world is useless if your body isn’t up to doing anything with it. So take care of yourself now, while you’re young, and you’ll find it pays off enormously when you’re older. (Plus, I hear that intramural sports are fun and good ways to meet people, if 40-year-old you doesn’t sound like a good enough reason to do an Exercise.)
Let’s start this new semester off right with these study strategies. We got this!
(First seen on my Patreon!)