How to make it through spring semester 2009

You knew it was coming. You could feel its dangerously close presence after New Years Day when the holiday fun started winding down. What can we do? Can we stop it? Delay it a little while perhaps?

Despite our heartfelt objections, the new semester has fallen upon us swiftly and without remorse. And worse, if you do not plan accordingly, it has the potential to chew you up and spit you out just as brazenly. This means we need a game plan; not a complicated one, just one that reminds us of those little things we can do to make sure we get through the semester. Here are a few:

Sit up close – It works. There are social psychologists that can verify it with research. Sitting in the front of the class not only ensures that you hear and remember information from lectures better, but also has the effect of endearing you more to the professor. This can come in handy when you need to finagle getting a paper in late.
Attend – Probably the simplest, yet hardest, rule to master. Showing up to every class period will do wonders. This is obviously because you’ll receive information that you would have missed sleeping in, but also because it makes the professor take you more seriously. In other words, you’ll get more slack if you have good attendance.
Make Friends – Sometimes classes seem to hold a stoic sort of vibe that can make it feel awkward to connect with classmates. If this is the case, suck it up and talk to somebody next to you a few times. Then, magically, you have made a connection for that class. This is invaluable for those times when you miss class and need to be brought up to speed but don’t want to ask the professor who will likely be irritated by your audacity.
Rewrite your notes – Though this takes a lot of stamina, it will also ensure that you can recall important information when you’re taking tests. Take notes from your classes and on that same day recopy them either by hand or onto computer. Doing so on the same day cements that information into your brain. Otherwise, you may find yourself doing some head-slapping when you miss answers on the test that you really knew but didn’t remember.
Study what interests you – This is the hard part about being an undergrad: You can’t always pick everything you study. But try finding certain things in general ed. classes that interest you a little. For example, if you were taking astronomy, and found shooting stars to be interesting, you could use that as an angle to motivate you to study and pass the class. When you find out what does interest you and what you would like to do as a career, take those classes. Don’t go into business management if you would be happier as a poor artist.
Have fun – Although most advice may not tell you this (or does so reluctantly with too many disclaimers), you have to have fun in the semester in order to survive. Skip homework now and then, just not all the time. Go out for coffee with your friends to relax. Play some video games. Go to the dollar theater with that special somebody in your life. Do whatever is necessary to recharge your batteries so you can succeed in school. Remember, studiousness can give you good grades, but excess can also make you miserable.

Now that you’ve been refreshed on these highly effective habits for college students, take on the new semester with as much ferociousness as you would in a hand-to-hand cage match with a grizzly bear. After all, this is a battle, and there can only be one victor. Will it be you, or the semester?

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