Survival of the Fall Semester

“Oh fall semester, we meet again. Far too many times have we faced off. I, still beaming with the glow of whimsy from summer vacation, welcoming you into my life with the promise of the nourishing knowledge I have yet to absorb from you. You, waiting there for me with a with a warm comforting smile. Only I am unaware of the baseball bat behind your back with the words ‘Calculus II’ engraved upon it. Oh how gullible I can be.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever been, for lack of better terms, knocked on your keister by the new semester? Well you are not alone. When you look around at your peers during those more challenging courses, even the students who seem to always have the answers feel the same way. They may just have some coping mechanisms. As we enter the 2017 fall term, I am here to share with you some of mine.

Cleanliness is next to GPA godliness. I can’t stress enough how having a clean, well-organized space can help with the anxiety of what seems to be a lifetime of homework and classes. Whether you’re moving back into a dorm or living off campus, you’re an adult now. No one is going to tell you how gross your room is. But if you’re smelling socks to see if they’re wearable or have a coffee cup containing its own ecosystem, it’s not a good look. Clean. It. Up.  Your space is your sanctuary and a direct reflection of your mental state. If it is scattered in a way that shows no care, it may be next to impossible to accomplish any decent work within it. Also, how can you spontaneously bring back a cute study buddy if your place smells like a hot dog? Hmmm…

Rewards that leave you waking up wondering, “Why am I sleeping on the couch in my clothes with a piece of pizza?” are not rewards. So you did great on your biology test. Fantastic! Now your immediate thought may be something like, “Let’s celebrate with tequila shots and kegs stands!” (If you’re over 21 of course.) WRONG! That is the kind of reward that you will most likely regret and not fully remember, and what kind of reward is that? Consider a proper reward for such fine work by your intellectually enlightened bad-ass self.

Maybe a nice bubble bath with lavender salts and fine glass of wine, after which you fall asleep early to your favorite soundtrack and the thoughts of sincere accomplishment you did not immediately diminish by getting hammered. Skip the mornings of “oh no’s” and replace them with nights of “ohh yeahh’s.”

Get organized! And get excited! Get yourself a multi-colored pen! You may think I’m kidding, but I am 100% not. Multi-colored pens are the weapon you’ve been missing; they are your Excalibur. Yielding many tools within one weapon, your fight against over-complicated lectures will end victorious. Seriously, though, they are an incredibly helpful and underrated writing tool. With the flick of a thumb, you can organize your thoughts to have priority and communicate relationships between important points and calculations. Even better, when you go home for holiday break you can show your folks your notebook full of intellectual artwork that is far more fridge-worthy than that hand turkey you made in the second grade.

In short, school has started again, but life is not over. This too shall pass, as long as you do. Be the best version of yourself  and invest in future you. Future you will thank you for it.

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