Breaking in the Spring Semester With Key Study & Planning Tips

Students can implement effective strategies to aid in handling a heavy class schedule, schoolwork and a hefty day-to-day agenda.

Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Marissa Grootes

Returning to the bustle of campus following winter break can feel like a complete shock to a student’s routine – or lack thereof. The restful days of minimal work are replaced with an arduous college semester that comes at students with full force. Transitioning to ‘student-mode’ presents challenges like any endeavor, but fortunately, there are several methods to break in this spring semester in an organized and focused way. 

Study The Syllabus

A syllabus is like a roadmap to a college course. Familiarizing yourself with upcoming assignments, whether the professor assigns textbook chapters or three page essays, will eliminate the possibility of being blindsided by the coursework load throughout the semester. If students know what is specifically required of them, they can try to use this as inspiration to be proactive and give themselves a head start. This ensures that students are not overwhelmed with unknown assignments later on.

Many students are in the midst of balancing work in addition to a dense class schedule. Beginning each week by reviewing the syllabus and completing lighter assignments as soon as possible can enable students to free up their time for working and spending time with friends. Additionally, drafting longer-term projects early in the semester, provided that the professor has given instructions, can serve students well when other bulky assignments materialize on their to-do lists. Working on larger, more energy-consuming assignments throughout the semester reduces – and possibly eliminates – the stress of pulling an all-nighter the evening before the assignment is due.

Find the Balance  

Struggling to locate a break for downtime is not unusual. Time management is one of the top challenges faced by college students. To combat the perpetual cycle of work quickly piling up,  devise a consistent homework schedule. For instance, selecting a specific time and day — like Tuesday afternoons to work on Biology and Wednesdays to study for Ethics — will keep a sense of structure in your schedule. Another benefit is that it creates much-needed and well-deserved free time. If you complete assignments consistently on certain days, you’re able to spend time with friends or relax and recharge for the next wave of work that is bound to roll in.

Consider Past Strategies

In addition to organizational and schedule skills, reflection is another way to improve your semester and progress from the previous one. Returning students should think about the aspects of their work routine that produced successful results. Freshman students should consider their high school experience and how they want to enhance their academic aptitude differently as a college student. 

Rest as Needed

If students recall feeling exhausted frequently during class time, ensure that this semester they allow themselves to rest adequately on school days. Students who have a tendency to procrastinate can counteract this urge by starting assignments in a timely manner. It’s never too late in the semester to turn bad habits around and implement positive ones. During the rat race that is college life, embracing each week as an opportunity to advance will allow students to uncover a personalized, consistent and effective set of academic habits.