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5 tips for a great start to the semester!


Monday, January 23, 2017

Person making a checklist

Whether you are building on the strength of your previous semester or looking to "turn it around", it is never too late to pick up new strategies for college success. Here are five simple ideas to get the most out of this semester.

1. Buy a monthly/weekly planner

If you haven't done this already, you should. Planners are an essential for every college student who wants to get and keep their life together. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." At the beginning of each week, make sure to update your planner with tasks and projects you need to get done each day that week and hold yourself accountable to those dates you have set for yourself.

2. Get on a good sleep schedule

We all know that not getting enough sleep has a negative impact on our lives. It makes us more vulnerable to illnesses, makes it harder for us to focus throughout the day, and can even cause weight gain. According to the University of Georgia Health Center, the average college student gets 6-6.9 hours of sleep each night (uhs.uga.edu/sleep). While each person's body needs a different amount of sleep to function its best, most college students need an average of 8 hours of sleep each night. This means that if you have a 7:50 a.m. class—which almost all students will have at least once in their college careers—you should probably be going to bed around 11 p.m. the night before.

3. Visit the CAPSS/DOSS office or go to Alpha

The Alpha Center provides writing and subject tutoring and is free to all students at Northwestern. Whether you need weekly tutoring for a harder class, or you just want to come in once and have someone read your paper, the Alpha Center is there to help you. Don't be afraid to use it!

Students needing accommodations for academic support due to chronic illness, mental illness, or disabilities can go to the CAPSS/DOSS office on the 4th floor of Nazareth hall and talk with service specialists to be approved for any accommodations they might need. This is a great resource for those struggling in classes for any health reason.

4. Study – The right way

For every one credit hour you take, you should be spending approximately 2-3 hours studying outside of class. This means that if you are taking 16 credits, you should be spending 32 hours a week studying/working on homework, or 4 hours every day. That may seem like an overwhelming amount of time, but if you plan well, it is do-able for most schedules.

When you are studying, make sure to eliminate distractions so that you are able to work as efficiently as possible. The top floor of the Berntsen library is a great place to study because it is a silent zone. You won't be distracted by other people's conversations, or friends coming by and talking with you. If you prefer more solitude for studying, there are also individual study rooms available.

5. Remember that every day is a fresh start

Remember that we serve a big God and that every day is a second chance. Each day is filled with new mercies and new grace to get you through. You are at a college filled with professors who actually care about you and who want you to succeed. So however your last semester went, or last week, or even last class, remember that tomorrow is always a new day and the chance for a fresh start.

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