Seven Strategies for a Smart, Successful Semester

A new semester is starting, and with it, all the struggles of managing school, clubs, work and a personal life. Here are a few tips from Loyola students on how to have a successful semester and manage time wisely:

1. Develop goals – To be on top of your game, it’s important to have goals, which should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Pick a specific goal that you can reasonably achieve within a certain timeframe. This goal should be related to your long-term academic or career plans, and you should develop a method to measure your progress, according to The Huffington Post.

Make sure you write down these goals in a place where you always see them so you don’t forget them.

2. Treat your education like it’s a job – By approaching college like it’s a job, you stay self-motivated and look for advancement and improvement opportunities.

“You should spend about 40 hours a week with class time and studying,” said first-year undecided major Carly Behm.

3. Use flashcards – Flashcards are helpful tools when studying. They help set priorities, organize topics and are great for visual learners.

“They save my life,” said sophomore ad/PR major Andrea Stacy. “You can whip them out on the El, the elliptical or in a coffee shop. If you’re not into handwriting them, you can type them out on and print or flip through your set on the app.”

4. Follow your heart – Do what you love. College allows you to take classes you’re interested in and find out what your passions are.

“Even if a major seems impractical, you have to go with what you love,” said first-year film and English double major Eliza Marley. “College is supposed to help you uncover new possibilities and opportunities out in the world, so be kind to yourself and take the time to find what you can put your heart 100 percent into.”

5. Stay healthy – The right food will help you stay focused this semester, so follow an eating plan with portions from the basic food groups. Also be aware that beverages may add extra calories.

To stay healthy, it’s also essential to exercise. Adults need at least two hours and 30 minutes of exercise each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some ways to exercise are taking the stairs instead of the elevator, working out with a friend and joining an intramural sports team.

6. Focus on what matters – Don’t stress over problems that will not matter in the future. Be mindful of yourself and your goals, and be aware that you will not remember the little stones in your path when you are at the finish line.

“When you’re stressing out and feeling very overwhelmed, ask yourself what will truly matter in five years,” said sophomore history and political science double major Mary Ennis. “If something isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s nice to remind yourself of that, take a deep breath and accept mediocrity.”

7. Balance time wisely – Make sure you are keeping track of how much time you spend on one thing and how to balance that with your other responsibilities.

“Don’t spread yourself too thin,” said sophomore ad/PR major and peer advisor Benjamin Bissell. “Be sure that you are spending time on the things you love and putting your all into them instead of committing yourself to too much and not being able to give 100 percent into your work.”

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