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    Categories: Strategies for Success

5 Ways to Stay on Top of Coursework

A new semester means a new way to get yourself prepared and ready to complete the school year. Every course will come with its own set of challenges, so you’ll need a plan to succeed and keep motivated. Use our tips to give yourself a head start on the semester ahead of you.

Buy a planner

Invest in a planner that fits your organization style. Do you need a day-by-day agenda that gives you the space to highlight every detail? Or do you need a monthly agenda to see the big picture? Having one in your backpack or at home lets you keep tabs of what projects or exams you have scheduled in the future. Some of your peers may opt to use their iPads or smartphones to manage their schedule, but it never hurts to have a hard copy at your side. Using one will let you quickly scribble notes without the road block of a password or PIN.


Keep and read your syllabus

The first day of classes is spent reviewing your syllabi, not for the benefit of your professor, but for your own. Pay attention, ask questions and actually read your syllabus — it’s a guide on how to ace your class. The syllabus lets you plan out your semester so you know what upcoming projects, papers and exams are on the horizon and when they are due. Paired with your planner, you’ll know ahead of time which weeks will be the busiest.

Create a distraction-free zone

Your study area needs to be a place for concentration and focus. It can be your bedroom, as long as you have the willpower to remain focused. Start with putting away your phone, turning off your TV and avoiding trying to clean. Another place of choice (and the most obvious) would be the library. It’s quiet and doesn’t have the distractions of home. But if you plan to study with friends, choose wisely. If your friend is more likely to play a game on their laptop, post on Snapchat or talk the whole time, you may want to fly solo.

Breaks and self-care

Overloading yourself can lead to stress and fatigue. You don’t want to burn out too quickly, or you’ll lose the motivation to get things done. Try relaxing by taking part in some self-care. That means taking frequent breaks that let you recharge your batteries. Or, depending on what helps you, it might mean doing yoga, playing video games, going for a walk or catching up with a friend. You want to stay healthy — mentally, socially and physically.

Meal prep

Make sure you’re fueling your body with the right foods by learning to master the art of meal prep! Ramen, bagels and cereal are old reliables and go-tos for stressed students because they’re cheap and easy to make, but meal prepping can help you save time and prepare healthy alternatives. You can start by prepping every Sunday, so you have breakfast, lunch and dinner ready to eat. Instead of having to worry about what you have to cook, you can pop the meal in the microwave during a study session. You can find a ton of recipes online or meal prep blogs that provide simple recipes. Some of the most popular are steamed chicken, rice and veggies. Before you know it, you’ll have meals prepped weeks in advance.

By using these tips to keep yourself organized, you’re setting yourself up for a successful semester. From week to week, your ability to keep your focus on these goals may get harder. If you find yourself falling back into old habits, simply refer to this list and pick up where you left off.

Leah Bianchi :