How to have a successful semester

Semesters in college are interesting little gems. If you count spring term as part of winter term, then you really only get eight semesters during your time at Hanover College.

When you find yourself in the midst of what each semester brings — the papers, the headaches, the friendships, the questionable weekend choices — it’s easy to get so wrapped up that you just want the semester to finally be over.

But to what end? So you can start the next one and just continue the cycle of “I love these classes” to “I love Netflix too much to get off my couch?” Next thing you know, college is over, and you’ll wish you did things differently.

Rather than subject yourself to that painful cycle, here are a three tips that will help you have a successful semester.

1. Pick your partners early. This one won’t apply to every class you’re in, but there will come a moment in time that you should recognize. If your professor says there is a project at the end of the semester, and that you’ll have to work with a partner, immediately stand up, stop class, scan the room and yell dibs when you identify someone good. While you probably don’t need to start working on the project for a few months, the last thing you want is to end up with someone who’s work ethic doesn’t quite line up with yours.

2. Go to classIt’s the easiest to follow and the easiest to break. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re not going over any useful material that day in class. Just go. You pay such ridiculous amounts of money for this experience, it’s practically being stolen from you if you don’t go to class.

My roommate procrastinates while our friend actually gets his work done. #college
My roommate procrastinates while our friend actually gets his work done. #college

It’ll also help your case at the end of the semester when you end up pandering to your professor because you think your group partners were the reason your project only earned you a C+.

3. Procrastinate intelligently. There’s a surprising amount of work and research that points toward procrastination as being beneficial. Turns out being close to a deadline makes your brain turn into Billy Blanks and get things done more effectively and efficiently (if you don’t get that reference ask your parents).

However, this doesn’t mean you should do all 400 pages of reading the night before. It means you should split it up into smaller segments on your own, and procrastinate on each small segment individually.

The list of ways to have a successful semester goes on and on, but I know the attention span of our age group, so I’ll leave it at that. If three isn’t enough for you, try this: let your semester suck just once. Then take all those things that made it suck and fix them.

Just don’t fall into that deadly cycle that ends with you crying into a bowl of microwaved mac and cheese because you finally realized you have only yourself to blame. Or thank. Your choice.

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