The start of a new semester marks a new beginning and offers another opportunity to challenge yourself and achieve success. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions from excitement to nervousness, but there’s no need to stress. You have the power to start on the right foot or make every semester even better than the last.
Stop and reflect on previous learning experiences and behaviors that either helped or hindered your ability to achieve at your highest potential. Just a few simple changes can profoundly impact how you navigate a new course or even an entire program. As you prepare for the new semester, we encourage you to explore different ways to help your productivity soar.
1. Get organized and plan ahead.
Preparation and organization are key to being successful in college, as they help minimize stress and maximize productivity. When you build a solid foundation and understand what the expectations are, you’ll have the clarity to plan ahead for assignments.
- Familiarize yourself with course syllabi and download materials sooner rather than later.
- Buy any books required for class in advance so you’re ready for the first day.
- Reach out to your professors and introduce yourself. Communicate any travel plans or commitments that may conflict with your coursework.
- Find a planner or calendar to capture important dates and deadlines.
- Create a master weekly schedule to outline the study time you’ll need.
- Establish a dedicated workspace and keep it free of clutter.
- Connect with your fellow classmates (they can become great study partners and friends).
- Stay confident and embrace an optimistic mindset. There’s power in positivity.
2. Set strong, achievable goals.
Goal setting is a powerful tool. It keeps you accountable and helps you maintain a sense of direction. Set yourself up for success and create goals that are clearly defined. You can make them SMART or WOOP them up.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
For example: "I want to achieve at least an A- in all of my classes this semester.
To achieve this goal, I will set appointments with each of my professors at the start of the term. I will ask for advice on how to prepare and take notes on their feedback. I will create (and follow) a week-by-week study schedule for each course and include a calendar to note key due dates for assignments and exams. I will follow my plan, complete all my work and apply all that I learn along the way to future projects. By the end of the semester, I will score an A- or higher in all of my courses."
WOOP stands for wish, outcome, obstacle and plan. It’s a simple, four-step, question-and-answer exercise that helps define your goal. Take a moment and write your responses to these prompts.
- Wish: What do you want to achieve?
- Outcome: What would happen if you achieved your outcome?
- Obstacle: What obstacles might be in the way of achieving your desired outcome?
- Plan: What plans or actions will you take to overcome those obstacles and achieve your desired outcome?
Whatever your goal-setting approach, the key is to remain accountable. Write down your goals. Keep them visible and read them out loud each day. Stay focused on the commitment you’ve made along the way. The reward is worth the work and so are you.