By Anastasia Howland
1. Reflect on last semester. What worked well? You established relationships with your professors, got along with your roommate, and managed to avoid that Freshman 15? Good. Keep doing those things. And what perhaps didn’t work so well? You rarely got more than 5 hours of sleep, crammed for every single test, and didn’t set foot in the library once? Make it a point to work on those things this semester.
2. Start going to chapel and convo now. You never know what’s going to pop up later on in the semester when you’re desperate for convo credits—you might be more desperate for sleep, or for a good grade on that paper you haven’t had time to start yet. It’s best to go enjoy chapel and convo now rather than being stressed about getting enough credits later when you already have 37 other things to do.
3. Get a planner. Wal-mart, Target, Michael’s, Barnes and Noble, Amazon—you can find one that you like almost anywhere.
4. Use your planner. It can sit on your desk and look pretty all it wants, but it’s not doing you any good that way. Keep it with you in your backpack, and make a point at the end of class to write down any homework you’re assigned. Also make sure to write down events, or even just small things you’ve planned for yourself—a movie night with friends, an hour to hit the gym, or some time to study for that Bio exam. Glance over it each night to make sure you’re prepared for the next day. This keeps you from forgetting things, or being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you have to get done—when you can see them, name them, and plan time do them, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.
5. Don’t spend all your Cav Cash in one place. Okay, well you have to spend it all in one place, I suppose. But don’t spend it all at once. You know you’ll be wanting some Starbucks or a warm chocolate chip cookie to keep you going at the end of the semester, so try your best to ration out your Cash.
6. Eat a good breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, blah, blah, blah. There have been all sorts of recent studies challenging this old wives’ tale, but one thing is certain: it’s better for your body to consume more calories earlier in the day than to gorge yourself on them late at night after skipping all other meals. This is only logical, because your body needs calories to get you through your daily activities, not to get you through a long night of rest. Make sure to pay more visits to Howerton Dining Hall in the morning than Cookout or Denny’s at midnight. Your body will thank you for it.
7. Establish other healthy habits. Only allow yourself a slice of pizza or cup of Dr. Pepper every once in a while—don’t make it your daily diet. Go for a walk once a day—there’s plenty of beautiful roads and trails in Montreat to enjoy. And please make it a point to head to sleep sometime before the sun comes up. Studies show that college students need at least 8 hours of sleep to function well. Getting enough sleep will keep both your body and mind happy and healthy. College is a busy season of life, but please make sure to take time to care for yourself.
8. Pay a visit to the CLCC. Don’t dig yourself into a hole by ignoring those red flags signifying your need for help in difficult classes. There is no shame in asking for help, and there are wonderful people in the CLCC (Center for Learning, Calling, and Career) who are eager to provide you with it. Whether you need study tips, help writing a resume, or somebody to help you figure out your calling/career, the CLCC is a great resource.
9. Be positive. Your attitude will often determine your actions. If you’re only grumbling and complaining about your classes and workouts, you’re not likely to enjoy or succeed at them. You can be realistic and truthful about the things that you don’t like, but don’t let these things cloud out the good things. Realize that you have been blessed in so many ways, and seek to actively enjoy your blessings.
10. When you fail, don’t give up. This is one of the most important life lessons you could ever learn—it stretches far beyond your college years, into all other times and aspects of your life. Don’t give up on that difficult class—talk to your professor, study with friends, visit the CLCC for some help. Giving up doesn’t get you anywhere. Trying again, while it may be difficult, is important—it’s the only way you can continue and improve.
11. Take time to have fun. This is the one you were all waiting for, right? Well here’s some good news: taking breaks is actually important—it’s not healthy to study yourself into the ground for 8 hours straight. Just as your body needs to rest from a strenuous workout, your brain needs to rest from a strenuous time of study. This isn’t an excuse not to study at all, so don’t have too much fun, but do make sure you schedule time to do the things that you love with the people that you love.