New Year, New You: How to Start Off the Semester Right

For many students, the New Year marks an opportunity for a fresh start. Whether your life could benefit from increased productivity and organization, or just a general sense of change, here are several ideas to help you start the New Year on the best possible note.

Establish a routine

If your goals for the New Year include a boost in productivity, consider strengthening your organizational skills first. Establishing great habits early in the spring term can also help you lower your stress levels come final exam time.

Purchase a planner and write in it as much as possible. Record every task that you must complete—homework and project due dates, household chores, upcoming concerts, work shifts, etc. Listing your obligations and events in one place can help you prepare for each week, and you can also avoid overbooking yourself.

Remember to set aside time for extracurricular activities and relaxation, but aim to over-estimate the amount of studying you will do each week. Many people find that it feels fantastic to sit down and finish the day’s work well before the end of their scheduled review session. Routine can ease the weight of heavy workloads, so when the end-of-term crunch sets in, you will already be in the habit of chipping away at your scholarly to-do list every day.

Focus on your extracurriculars

It’s also worthwhile to set extracurricular goals. After all, it’s important to live a balanced life! Endeavor to earn a faster mile time than you ever have before or finally put your idea for a short story down on paper. You can also join a new club to broaden your interests and social circles. The most difficult moments of your semester will be less draining if another activity exists to take your mind off of school from time to time.

Reflect on the previous year

Last, use the New Year as a chance to reflect. Implementing new strategies for success is only half the story of positive change—the other half involves reinforcing those habits that have been working thus far. Look back, and try to identify the study habits, routines, and other aspects of life that contributed to your success over the past year.

Keep them in mind when the challenges of the New Year present themselves. If it helped to eat a small meal before exams, keep doing so. If studying before bed worked better for you than studying in the afternoon, plan your review sessions accordingly. If rewarding yourself with a trip to the movies after finishing an important paper rejuvenated you, search for show times between your final revisions.

Similarly, reflection can present a chance to spot the habits that were not successful, and you can then minimize these occurrences in your life. Procrastinating on papers until the last possible moment is one common example. It can be difficult to leave these routines behind, but the New Year is your opportunity to aim for the best you.

With the successes of the past year in mind, as well as a desire to curb harmful habits and to seize the wonderful opportunities that present themselves, the New Year will be your best yet!


This article was written by Schuyler Durham

Schuyler Durham is a professional tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Oregon in 2014.

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