New Habits for the Upcoming Semester


Image by: Angela Roma on Pexels (edited by R. Bradford)

R. Bradford, Student Life Editor

     It’s finals week, a dreaded duration in which most students, myself included, face their lazily-taken notes which span months. Upon becoming overwhelmed by a deep realization and regret for the lack of organization they have held throughout the year, most students make a promise to themselves that they will not feel this stress come spring semester finals week. Most wish to take advantage of the new semester and view this fresh start as a way to stay on top of all schoolwork and classes. However, these promises are often left broken due to unrealistic expectations and the misleading beginning-of-semester motivation that tends to dull as the year continues. Below are a few realistic and simple habits that will allow you to uphold your goal of a stress-free second-semester finals week. 


Prioritize Assignments:

     The unspoken truth about most high-school level classes is the ample amount of busy work. Teachers will give meaningless assignments simply for the sake of inputting a grade. At the beginning of the semester, learn for each one of your classes which assignments have a big impact on your overall grade, and which do not. Use this information throughout the class to better manage your time. 

     Take advantage of the small-weighted grades by simply completing the assignment and submitting it on time. However, please recognize that these are typically graded based on completion, not quality, so placing a lot of effort or time into them will prove redundant. Instead, you can direct your focus and attention toward the larger assignments and grades. In other words, to avoid the burnout that comes with spending copious amounts of time on school, make better use of your time by spending it on the assignments that are going to impact your grade, not the ones that are given to fill class time. 


Continuously review: 

     This is something that I always promise myself I am going to do, but never follow through on. But now, as I try to go back through the notes I took earlier in the semester, I am coming across certain units and topics that I had completely forgotten about. Because of this, preparing for finals is taking an excessive amount of time, for I am having to re-teach myself the semester’s content as opposed to simply studying it.

     I have found a simple solution I feel could contradict this. As the semester unfolds, periodically go back through your notes and review. This doesn’t have to be a long or extensive study-sesh, but a quick glance back at what you’ve done. The purpose of this isn’t to memorize the material, but to prevent forgetting it. That way, when it comes to studying for finals, you’ll feel alleviated by familiarity, making studying faster and less stress-inducing.  


Create a system:

     At the beginning of the term, it’s best to set up a system of organizing notes/assignments for each class. For example, most english/history classes are mainly online assignments, so make a google folder for that class, and make sub folders for different topics/units. Then, everytime you are assigned something, make a habit of automatically moving it into the designated folder. Math and science classes typically have paper assignments, so set up a binder where you put all your notes/work and separate the units/topics by sticky notes. If you’re like me and prefer to use a notebook but still desire organization, take notes in a notebook, make sure to date it, and then rip out the notes to place in your binder when finished. 

     The method in which you go about organizing your work will differentiate based on personal preferences and the functionality of each specific class, but any way you go about it, keep all important notes and assignments sequentially organized. The accessibility of having all your notes organized in one place will prove beneficial to your success in that class in addition to simplifying the process of studying for finals. 


     If you’re currently feeling stressed about your final exams, use this tension and unease to motivate you to prevent this feeling come spring semester. The start of new classes is a perfect opportunity to replace bad habits with good ones. If you start off the term implementing time-management and organization into your work-ethic, these traits will become normalized and habitual, making them easier to uphold throughout the rest of the semester. If you continuously utilize simple and personal methods to help weaken the overwhelming aspect of schoolwork, you just may find yourself in a much more serene position come finals week of the upcoming semester.