And at worst, a disappointment. We let our short-lived aspirations ride out for months and months, until we pass the August-threshold of lulled motivation and say: “Meh, I’ll make it my 2017 New Year’s resolution.” And the cycle goes on…
Did you know that protein powder sales spike during January? That’s because so many people make the resolution to “get healthy” or “lose weight” and make a bulk impulse purchase of protein powder along with a $1000 gym membership they’ll use for three weeks before giving up.
The reason New Year’s resolutions seem to have little to no effect is because we make them on too grand a scale – we bite off more than we can chew. In almost every instance, the best way to get to your goals is to make small incremental steps forward. If we stop looking at the big picture and focus on the day-to-day tasks that we need to complete to get closer to our goals, we end up making a lot more progress than trying to tackle everything at once. And this, my friends, is how you should approach Semester One.
When we think of the looming 2016 Semester, a few things come to mind:
Semester One always looks like a massive waterfall we’re all about to go over before we’re ready to take the plunge, but in reality, it’s way less intense than you think. Here are some of my tips to help you approach Semester One like a pro, instead of freaking out like a dingbat.
Don’t give me that look.
If you happened to be saving all your money for O’Week and Oporto dinners, maybe put some of that chump change into a jar / separate savings account so you have emergency money. I can tell you from experience, nothing is worse than being told you don’t have enough money for a bus after you spent three hours scraping up the last of your 5 cent pieces from under the couch. Nothing.
It seems that 50% of the population is obsessed with nice stationery, and the rest of it is constantly losing their pens and scribbling their notes for each class in the same ragged coffee-stained notebook. At the very least, make sure you’ve got a few pens in the bag you carry around on campus, and another couple of pens on your desk at home. It might also be a good idea to have a dedicated notebook for each class, that way you’re not losing your notes into an abyss of scribble and margin doodles you did when you were bored.
Falling into the habit of being late for class will be your Semester One Achilles Heel. It starts off small, and then eventually you’re not showing up to class at all. In first year the classes aren’t always compulsory, but the kids who show up are the ones doing well – so don’t be that guy.
Self-explanatory? Maybe. Important? Definitely. Making pretty colour-coded notes is only half the work. Re-reading them is what’s going to get you over the line come exam time. If you re-read your notes just once after your classes, you’re way more likely to retain that information rather than jotting down some shorthand and not looking at it until you’re a week out from a 50% exam.
Living on campus, it’s very easy to move your body clock in all kinds of funky directions. Students pull all-nighters, stay up watching movies and sleep until noon. You heard it here first: this will impact you more than you realise. Getting decent sleep is vital to everything else. You’ll concentrate better, study better, feel better, work better, and do better in all of your assignments and exams. There is an endless amount of reasons why sleep is going to be your best friend, and you can read about it here.
Shock! Horror! You’ll be thrilled to know it’s not all about study and academia. Uni life is also about making life-long friends and seeing how long you can survive on ramen (hot tip: don’t do that). Your sanity is your best weapon when it comes to approaching Semester One, so, repeat after me: make time for yourself. Some of you will find this super easy, but a lot of us have trouble tearing ourselves away from our responsibilities. Finding time to relax and rest is just as important as studying and going to class. I cannot stress this enough – look after you, then look after your uni work.
If you take a look back through this list and think “nah, I’ll be alright,” that’s cool. Everyone has their own way of doing things. But if you’re a bit flustered at the thought of your first Semester of uni, or you just want a few starting points, these tips are it. If you start strong, you finish strong – and it’s hard to kick a good habit when it sets 😉