Welcome back! I hope you all had a well-deserved, relaxing break. It's a new year full of many new opportunities and experiences for you to take full advantage of. The start of a new year, as well as a new semester, is a very exciting time and the perfect time to start fresh. Personally, my favourite thing about starting a new semester is getting those new, crisp notebooks! While going back to school is an exciting time, it can also be a challenge to get back into that 'school mindset' and regain certain levels of motivation towards your academic life. Here are some tips and tricks that I have found help me get back into the swing of things after time off:
1. Take care of yourself first
Holiday breaks give us a lot of time to truly relax and take care of ourselves. We get to spend time with family and friends, not having to worry about upcoming assignment deadlines or exams. The time off also allows us to take a mental break which can enable us to think more clearly for when it's time to go back to school. When coming back to school, it is important to make sure you are meeting your own basic needs. This may sound kind of silly, but by simply eating heathy, sleeping well, exercising daily and drinking plenty of water, you will find yourself feeling fueled and ready to take on each day. I know that the beginning of a new semester comes with new responsibilities and roles you need to fill, but without taking proper care of your mind and body, these responsibilities will be more challenging to hold. So, to sum up this tip, I ask you ever so kindly to always make time for self-care and relaxation!
2. De-clutter your living space
This point is what I believe to be one of the most important points to follow when going back to school. De-cluttering and re-organizing your room will help to give you that fresh start you're looking for. I find that working/studying in a clean and organized area makes all the difference and allows me to think more positively and have better focus. De-cluttering will also allow you to get rid of any old or un-used items to make room for new items. As the saying goes, out with the old and in with the new!
3. Leave the past in the past
This is also another point (tip) that I would like to encourage you to adhere by, although it can be the most challenging one. Whether you had one of your best semesters yet, or had possibly one of the hardest, it is important to move forward and accept it for what it was. Remember that success is not linear, and in order to succeed and perform better (whether it be improving your grades or getting that dream job/placement) we need to overcome certain obstacles and learn from our mistakes. It is important to never be too hard on yourself and accept areas where you may need to improve and appreciate your strengths. For any of you out there, who may catch themselves dwelling on any thoughts/concerns about last semester, I urge you to leave them in the past and focus on all the great things you plan to accomplish this semester! Always remember to look forward, not back, as that is the direction you are moving.
4. Make new goals
With the start of a new semester comes the time to set new goals for yourself. While these goals should be academically-orientated, I would also suggest setting a few new personal goals as well! When settings goals, a helpful tool to use is the S.M.A.R.T principle. For those of you who aren't quite sure what this entails, I will explain! The 'S' stands for specific, meaning to make your goals specific and precise. The 'M' stands for measurable, which means making goals that can be assessed/measured at the end of your time frame (e.g. losing a certain amount of weight or raising your GPA a certain number of points). The 'A' stands for achievable, meaning to ensure your goal is one that can actually be attained given the time frame and resources you have. The 'R' stands for realistic, which is fairly similar to the previous point, ensuring that your goal is practical. Lastly, the 'T' stands timely, indicating an appropriate time frame which you will set to reach the goal. An important point to note is that the time frame needs to be flexible as you may find yourself needing more time or reaching the goal in a shorter amount of time than expected. Now that you know of a great goal-setting tool, go set some goals!
Well, that basically sums up, what I find to be, four of the most important things I try to follow when starting a new semester. I wish you all the very best with the upcoming semester and would love to hear any other tips you may have on this topic in the comments!