The End of Winter Break...
The start of the second semester is a strange time to be a student. For the past several weeks, your lifestyle has been the complete antithesis to educational development—you’ve probably finished a shameful number of Netflix shows, spent some quality time with hometown friends, and haven’t been waking up before 10 or reading from a textbook.
Now, you'll soon be going back to campus where you'll be asked to do the total opposite.
This complete flip-flop is usually why grades job in the second semester. Students get complacent, and they start things off poorly.
Transitioning From Winter Break to Class
Returning students need to shed the rust of winter break, but slowly. Instead of jumping right into your first day back, take the following small steps to mentally prepare.
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Print out (and look at) your syllabus’: You might be the type to take assignments as they come, but the point of a syllabus isn’t just to help you create a calendar, it’s also to give you a better idea of what new concepts and skills you’ll be learning in the class. This ‘big picture’ look at the course may stress you out a little, but it can also excite and motivate you as think about all that you'll be able to accomplish.
Make a calendar: Pull all major assignment dates from your syllabus’ and put them into a personal calendar so you’re guaranteed to not forget about upcoming tests, papers and projects.
Make sure you have all the books: Many teachers will be giving assignments out of the textbook within the first week. The classic “Amazon hasn’t shipped my book yet” excuse is far too antiquated to be believable, and it still leaves you a step behind when you could easily be a step ahead.
Think about the benefit of each class: Wether it's a gen ed or a life-defining major course, each and every class you take is beneficial. You just have to figure out how. It could be as simple as making you a more knowledgeable and interesting person, or it could be essential to different careers you want to pursue after college. Either way you should spend some time finding one small reason you'll be better off having taken each class.
See when you might have time for extracurricular: Long breaks in the middle of the day or at the of it is a good time for you to test out some clubs or activities. I say test because often our instinct is to hang out with friends or lay about during free time, but too much of that can be a little lame, and it’s certainly no way to take advantage of college. See when you have free time, and find something new and novel you could do during that time.
Plan a trip with your friends: Preparing for the second semester doesn’t have to be all bad. Whether it’s for Spring break or your first weekend back, hit up your college friends and try to plan a trip, using your newly made calendars to make sure you all have the free time.