Simple ways to ace second semester

Futo Wada | Conant Crier

Entering a new year and semester can be stressful. After a relaxing winter break, the prospect of returning to school with enough motivation to finish the school year on a positive note might seem daunting. Committing to ambitious new year’s resolutions is one way to start the year off on the right foot, but there are smaller, easier changes you can make in your lifestyle that work just as well. Whether you’re eager to get back to your classes or just want to stay in bed, these simple tips will help you make the most out of your second semester.

Get involved
There’s no better way to get out of the lazy mindset of winter break than to participate in activities at Conant and spend time with friends. Socializing has been shown to be beneficial to both mental and physical health, and having something fun to look forward to after school will make the transition from break to the routine of school easier. Even if you’re not currently involved in anything, it’s not too late to join a club or try out for a spring sport; you may find an unexpected activity you really like. Some sports, such as track and field, are no-cut, so don’t hesitate to try out even if you don’t have experience. Spending time with friends is always a good way to relieve stress, and you can hang out even if you have homework. Forming a study group with some friends might help you hold yourself accountable and get more done.

Stay organized
Organization is a key part of success. Even if you’re already good at keeping track of things, there might still be ways to make your life easier that you haven’t tried yet. Use a planner or phone calendar to record due dates and appointments so you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. The App Store has a wide variety of organizational apps, including some that are designed specifically for students. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new organizational techniques like mind mapping and bullet journaling. If you take a risk and try something new, you may just find the perfect method for your lifestyle.

Take care of yourself
It can be difficult to get enough sleep if you’re juggling a lot of homework and responsibilities, but by putting a little extra thought into your daily routine, you can avoid pulling an all-nighter. Try to work efficiently during the day and take advantage of any opportunity you have to get things done. Doing homework during lunch may not be very fun, but it’s worth it if you gain an extra hour of sleep. Taking time to unplug from your devices is also beneficial to your health. The light given off by phones has been shown to disrupt the circadian cycle and may increase eye strain. Although iPads are necessary for schoolwork, you can still benefit from minimizing the use of other electronic devices. The Forest app, which locks your phone for a set period of time, is a good tool to help decrease phone use.

Set goals
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by homework and other commitments, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Setting goals and rewarding yourself for accomplishing them is a great way to keep yourself motivated to take on second semester. Making long-term goals for the future can be helpful, but don’t forget to set goals that you can achieve more quickly as well. This will prevent you from getting discouraged if your more ambitious goals seem difficult to achieve. These goals can be academic, but they don’t have to be. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, or improve an existing one. Setting goals in multiple areas is a good way to be a more well-rounded person and keep balance in your life. Remember to reward yourself for your accomplishments; your hard work deserves recognition!

Second semester may be busy, but it doesn’t need to be intimidating. Follow these simple tips for success, and most importantly, don’t get discouraged or slack off just because winter break is over. After all, spring break is just around the corner, and you’ll have plenty of time to relax then.

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