Culture Staff Picks: Starting fresh


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Culture Desk

The post-winter break fog can be tough to beat. Between budgeting for new books, cleaning an apartment that’s been empty for nearly a month and relearning how to wake up at 6 a.m., students could easily fall right back into bad habits. But don’t stress – just follow the culture desk’s best tips for a fresh start, and let everything else fall into place.

Get organized and plan ahead

Tara Davenport | @tara_davenport

Syllabus days have come and gone, so it’s time to buy a planner and start filling in upcoming meetings, appointments, tests and tasks. Nothing is more satisfying than physically checking items off your to-do list each day, and you can even get colored pens to distinguish between classes, extracurriculars and work. If your class syllabi include weekly schedules of readings and assignments, then go ahead and put everything for the semester in your planner and avoid missing an assignment later.

Move past the last semester

Leah Goggins | @ladygoggog

Every January and August, a blank slate arrives at every student’s doorstep. If last semester ended poorly, it still has no bearing on what you do in the new year, and the same goes for having had a stellar semester. No one can coast on last semester’s straight A’s, just as no one should let a disappointing semester bring them down in the new year. Think about what you can learn from the past, and then let it go. Keep the study habits that worked, and drop the ones that didn’t. Give yourself the space you need to start fresh and be successful without old baggage.

Set measurable goals to keep the momentum

Kinsley Centers | @kinsleycenters

There’s no time like the present to get back into the swing of things. Beyond goals for the new year, try to make weekly academic goals. Focusing on smaller, more accomplishable checkpoints will lead to more fulfilling resolutions. Instead of simply improving this semester, think about making an A on the first test or simply turning an assignment in on time. Achieving these weekly victories will keep you excited, engaged and allow you to crave more success throughout the semester. Stay realistic with yourself so you don’t set yourself up for failure. Stay encouraged, not discouraged. 

Be present in class

Brynna Mitchner | @brynnaofficial

It can be tempting to skip out on a class because it’s early in the semester. “It’s just review,” or “it begins at 8 a.m.” make it tempting to stay in bed, but showing up and paying attention in class are vital to having a successful semester. Scheduling time for sleep, friends and other activities around your academic schedule can help prioritize classes and get in the habit of showing up on time, every time, even if attendance is not mandatory. Whether the class is big or small, making the effort to be present and engaged will always keep you on a professor’s good side. 

Take time for yourself

Anna Shoultz | @annadove_

We all know how important it is to go to class, stay involved in organizations and be our best selves. It’s important to remember that everyone needs a break once in a while, too. So, grab that coffee in between classes or find time to read that book you’ve been eyeing or, if school is what makes you feel most accomplished, get that assignment done a little early. Especially at the beginning of a semester, it can be too easy to feel overwhelmed with all the new content being thrown your way. Self-care will improve your capacity for new classes, more activities and less stress all around.