First-Year Students: Starting the Semester

Entering your first year of university is many things at once – exciting, adventurous, fun, busy, challenging, and a little nerve-wracking and stressful too. The semester may seem to start out slow, but the pace of school and classes pick up fast and before you know it, you’re turning in essays, studying for midterms, and then for finals. It can be downright exhausting figuring everything out, but you will come to find your own routine with time. For first year students: here are a few tips to start your semester off right. 

1. Do all your readings the day they’re assigned.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Readings pile up very, very quickly, and it is incredibly stressful to try to get them all done right before midterm and finals seasons. Getting them done before the next class allows you to process and engage with the information, and as a result, prepare yourself better for exams. Do yourself a favor and get them done while you have time. 

2. Talk to your professors and TA’s.

I know – as an incoming student, talking to professors is very difficult. It may feel like your class sizes are huge and your professors don’t have time to help you, but trust me when I tell you that they very much want to. Never be afraid to approach them. (They are normal people too and have been in your shoes before!) If there’s one thing I wish I would’ve done more of in class in my first year, it is to seek help from professors and TA’s whenever I was lost. 

3. Make wise decisions.

The start of the new semester for first year students is also the start of newfound freedom. With the liberty to do as you please when you please and with what seems like plenty of time, it’s extremely easy to get carried away the first few weeks of school and make poor decisions. Always aim to do what’s best for yourself. You will do better in school if you are healthy and well rested.

4. Have fun.

There will be times where all your energy and effort go solely into completing assignments. The only  “going out” you will do will be going out to go to the library to study. Organize yourself and your work early in the semester so that you CAN make time for some fun, for the sake of your own sanity and mental health. Some days this will mean just 10 minutes to do something you enjoy, but make sure that “you time” is there. It will make a difference. 

The transition may be a little rough at first, but there are things you can do to make it easier. Start your semester off on the right foot, be productive, be forgiving with your mistakes, and give yourself time to adjust and improve. 

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