How to Start the Semester Right

To have a succesful semester, stay on top of your assignments and studying with a thorough organization system.

Beginning the semester with tasks like buying school supplies, finalizing your class schedule or searching for textbooks that don’t cost as much as a Hamilton ticket can be both mentally and emotionally taxing. After NYU’s long winter break, diving back into a full class load can seem daunting. However, a simple shift in perspective can help start the semester off with new energy and some excitement, and can ultimately help you do better in your classes.

Starting your semester off on the right foot could make or break your success. By starting positively, you can set the vibe for the entire semester. One strategy is to focus on organization — this means creating work and school schedules, cleaning up your desk space and maintaining a study schedule. By scheduling out your day, you can have a general outline of what you want to get done and an estimate of how long it will take you to do it.

Within this schedule, make sure to set time aside for studying and plan out when you are going to study each subject. According to French professor Melanie Hackney, regular study time is crucial to making the most of
your education.

“Make learning the course material the primary objective,” Hackney said. “This may sound like obvious advice, but I see far too many students who get caught up in the numbers, the grades, the GPA. If students first tap into that intellectual curiosity, the very spark inside that made them want to take a particular course to being with — then the numbers will follow.”

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For many professors, a good attitude is just as valuable in a student as natural talent. Rafael Chduran, Latin American Politics teaching assistant and politics Ph.D. student, admires admires a student’s strong work ethic the most.

“Perseverance is more important than intelligence,” Chduran said. “If you persevere since the start of the semester, and distribute responsibilities evenly throughout, you will not only be less anxious, but more free. And that freedom will allow you to be far more creative and enjoy the career you pick.”

Chduran and Hackney aren’t alone in emphasizing that academic achievement isn’t everything. Writing the Essay professor Taylor Black believes students shouldn’t be afraid to recognize that they may have too much on their plates. Writing The Essay is considered one of the toughest classes a student takes their freshman year, making it easy to become discouraged.

“Know your limits,” Black said. “Search for the edges of your personality, talent and style, and then confine yourself to this enclosed space. With limitation comes endless possibility”.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 30 print edition. Email Dyanna Fleites-Cruz at [email protected]

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