A new semester, combined with a new year, can seem both exciting and daunting, whether you’re gearing up for new classes in college or continuing with some of the same ones (or new ones) in high school. Will I like my new classes? Will I be able to keep my New Year’s resolution? Will I enjoy this semester as much as the last one (or more than the last one)? Let’s look at answering some of the questions that you might have going into a new semester.
Will I like my new classes?
An important question to think about. Most of us in college registered months ago for our classes that we will take this spring. If you take a look at your schedule, college students, the question to ask next is - Are there any classes you’re unsure you want to take? If so, check into your school’s academic policies regarding classes. Mine has a specific no-fee add and drop time frame for our new classes. There are multiple ways you can take classes, including the credit/no-credit system they have set up for classes outside of our chosen majors. If you are stuck in the boat where you have to take a class for a requirement, see if there’s anyone you know in the class and if you can get through it together! I know that having friends in my Public Speaking class made it easier for group presentations, and we were able to study (and maybe complain a little) together. For high school, you probably could get your schedule shifted around during the first week or two of school if there’s a class you want to take!
Will I be able to keep my New Year's resolution during my new semester?
My first answer would be: it depends on what kind of resolution you set for yourself! If your resolution is academic, then it’ll probably be easy to implement into your routine. Such as adding more studying time or challenging yourself to get B’s if you’ve been getting C’s. If your goal lies in another area, I’d say start small, and make an effort to implement your resolution slowly into your schedule. For example, I’m really bad at using any and all free time to tap around online, whether it’s looking at funny things or looking at recipes for dinner. Next thing I know, I’ve wasted two hours and I’m nowhere closer to finishing my homework! So, my New Year’s Resolution to make this new semester better than the last is planning out my time with a schedule. I’ve made blocks for when I’m in class, when I need to study, and when I need to work—so any other time I have would be free time! No more time wasted, and I’ll be getting stuff done! If you work towards making your New Year’s resolution fit into your schedule, instead of changing your schedule completely to fit your resolution, this new semester might work out better for you than the last!
Will I enjoy this semester as much as the last one (or more than the last one)?
In my mind, if you’re looking to enjoy the next semester it depends on three things.
One: Do you enjoy your classes?
If they are for your major, or some of them are requirements to graduate high school, is there anything you can do to help yourself enjoy those classes more? Neon flashcards to make studying more fun? Fancy pens or different colored post-it notes? Treats or rewarding yourself after an hour or two of work in the class you might not like could go a long way towards resolving question one.
Two: Are you doing anything to help yourself be happy, such as catching up with a tv show now and then, or hanging out with any of your friends?
I know I’m probably not alone when I say that I focus too much on my work sometimes when I could relax, and vice versa. I’m going to work on putting little things into my day that will make me happy—if you can’t think of any right now, don’t worry, for you’ll discover what makes you individually happy and that can make all the difference heading into a new semester.
Three: What’s your mindset like?
Mindset is everything when it comes to school and life beyond the classroom. Are you optimistically looking at all the learning that you are doing? Are you thinking about how this step in your education can help you succeed in your future? I have to remind myself, especially about the valuable part of education. I’m lucky to be learning more and advancing into a new semester. Especially with a few teachers I purposefully took classes with to ensure that my mindset about going to class stays positive. The foundation of my future lies in my education. With that in mind, I can look at the new semester I’m headed into with fresher eyes than last year.
In addition to answering some of the questions I posed earlier, I’ve got a bit of other advice that might help you in preparing for the new semester.
For college students: Make sure when you get your syllabi for the new semester, to write down all of the important test dates and due dates in your planner or other organizational spot. I know during the end of the previous semester I slack off on writing down everything in my planner—probably to my detriment. This might help you navigate this new semester with ease!
For high school students: If there is any class that you need to do better in, try making a plan for the new semester to help yourself out! What can you add to it that will help? Making outlines for chapters, flashcards for vocabulary, planning out time to read the textbook before you take the test? A new plan heading into a new semester is never a bad thing. If you find out it’s not working as well as you had hoped, you can always tweak it to fit your schedule and schoolwork better!
Preparing for a new semester for me means buying new pencils, catching up on sleep before I start classes, cleaning out my backpack and organizing my desk. What are your new semester preparations?