Student Life

Tips for A Successful Second Semester

Aleena Islam, Student Contributor

January 31, 2020

With the new year comes a new semester of high school classes! It seems like just yesterday school was starting, but it’s already time for second semester.
Tips for A Successful Second Semester
Starting a new semester of school can be both refreshing and a little nerve-wracking. On one hand, you get to take new classes that you may find yourself enjoying. One the other hand, it can also be a little scary leaving behind the schedule that you’re comfortable with. For some high school students, like myself, there are still a few weeks of first semester classes and finals before the new semester starts. Although you may be busy in the upcoming weeks to study for finals, there are some ways for you to get ahead before second semester even arrives! There are lots of ways to prep for the new semester, so here are some of the ways that I get ready for my second semester! 1.) Be familiar with your schedule. Before second semester starts, know your class schedule inside out! Know which classes you’re signed up to take and think about the level the difficulty and amount of work they will be. Also, be familiar with where your classes are on campus. It probably wouldn’t make a great first impression if you got lost and were late to class on the first day! 2.) Stay organized from day one. During break or before your classes start, make sure to gather all your supplies for your new classes. Think about what you’ll need for each class: graph paper for math, a journal for English essays, etc. You’ll likely have binders and folders from first semester that you can reuse. I always like to make time to set up all my binders and supplies so that I’m organized for my classes. I use a binder for each class- depending on the class, you may only need a folder or notebook- and put dividers in it for categories such as “notes,” “homework,” and “warm-ups.” Be sure you have any extra supplies you may need as well: notebook paper, highlighters, pens, etc. By having all your supplies gathered and ready, you’ll be well prepared for second semester! As second semester begins, stay organized with a planner or a calendar app. I know lots of students who use Google Calendar and record every one of their upcoming due dates. Personally, I use a tangible planner because writing deadlines down help me remember them better. Use whatever works best for you and your course load! 3.) Stay motivated. After an exhausting first semester, it can be easy to drop the ball when the new year rolls around. However, you’re already halfway done with the school year; don’t let yourself slack now! The time from the beginning of second semester to the end seems impossibly long, but I promise you that it will pass by in a blink of an eye. In this case, it’s incredibly important that you stay motivated and on top of things in the second semester so that you finish the year strong! 4.)Reflect on first semester. Now that first semester is over, or almost over for some students, it’s a good time to reflect back on the highs and lows of your first semester. What are some things you really liked or excelled at? What are some points you could improve on? Analyze the areas that you struggled with. For example, maybe you had trouble turning assignments in on time, in which case, it might be a good idea to invest in a planner to stay on top of assignments. Maybe you found it difficult to effectively study because your notes were unorganized and messy. To remedy that, it may be beneficial to rewrite your notes after class. Rewriting notes seems tedious and unnecessary, but it’s helped me personally retain information, and it could help you too! Whether you thought your first semester was a success or that there were areas in which to improve, try to take the time and really think about your past semester. Think about your professors, your workload, how you balanced schoolwork with personal life. It seems trivial, but it can really help you identify which habits are helping you succeed and also how to improve! 5.) Set goals. After reflecting on your past semester, use those reflections to set goals for the new semester, or expand on any existing goals you have. Your goal can be short term or long term, big or small, school related or personal. As long as the goal is something that will further you as a person and is attainable, go for it! Some common goals are to earn and maintain good grades, stay organized, or balance your time more wisely. Hopefully with hard work and dedication, you’ll achieve your goals! 6.) Get ready for a change. No matter how much you liked and enjoyed first semester, your classes are about to change. Hopefully, you’ll end up liking your new courses and teachers, and will settle into a new routine that works for you. Instead of fighting the change, try to embrace it with an open mind. Keeping your mind open will make the transition that much easier. Even if you completely hate your new schedule, just remember, it’s only for about five months! 7.) Relax! Although a new semester can be scary, it’s nothing that you can’t handle! Your teachers will likely be friendly and welcoming, and so will your fellow students! It can be hard to do but try to simply relax and enjoy the new semester. There will be times when the second semester may seem overwhelming, but just know that you will get through it and you’ll likely think back on the semester fondly. By prepping early and keeping an open mind, you can make second semester the most successful yet! Within a few weeks, I almost guarantee that you’ll settle into a new routine that you will grow to be very comfortable with. Good luck!

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