Maybe your school already started(mine did), or you still have a few weeks. Either way, it’s not too late to prepare for a new semester, even if a month has passed. You can even use these tips to rebrand yourself mid-semester.
Sometimes we get into a mind block and we tend to lose our motivation and discipline. We don’t feel like studying or doing extra things for ourselves. Like working out, going for walks, building personal projects, face masks, etc. This post is here to combat that from the start and help you prepare for a new semester.
Also, this is Part 2 of the Back to School series. I know this was planned for last week, but I got busy with school and just life in general. There are collaborative posts that are published at times, so there’s never a lack of content. And (hopefully) I’ll be more consistent with my podcast episodes!
I hope these tips and steps help you go back on your academic grind :))
clean your space
One of the reasons we feel chaotic and tired is because we reflect our environment and vice versa. If your room is littered with clothes and stuff, plus your desk barely has any space for you, then you need to change that. Even if it means cleverly procrastinating. If you lack the motivation to fold and organize your clothes, put it in a laundry basket on the side.
You’ll feel cleaner and once you’re feeling more motivated you can slowly put them back, If your dresser is cluttered put something away every time you take a break. Or set a 5-minute timer, you can take a break after as long as you have been cleaning all those 5 minutes.
For your desk, you can do the same thing as your dressers/nightstand. Changing your mindset helps, do you deserve a messy space? No, you deserve something clean, something that facilitates your learning. This will help you to prepare for a new semester.
If your goal is to get good grades and study more, you need to set yourself up for success. A clean space increases your likeliness to be motivated and work efficiently.
Vacuum, wipe down your furniture, take your trash out, buy posters, and remove decorations you’ve grown out of. Change the layout of your room, be invested in making your space better for you, and prepare for a new semester.
Find an organization system that works for you
If you’re like me, you’re excited to use your new planner or notion pages. But as weeks go by, your planner is collecting dust, and your notion pages haven’t been opened forever. How do you fix this? Before you start going crazy with planning think about this:
- is it too intricate? Do you have 5+ notion pages for one reason(academic, project, schedule, etc.).
- Are you trying to do everything under the sun for the first time?
- Will you be using this when you’re in a rush or just feeling lazy?
I soon discovered that I don’t like lugging a paper planner, and I tend to forget about the planner living on my laptop. Sometimes I have to quit the page because of slow wifi. So how did I fix this?
- I still use Notion but for more abstract things.
- A monthly page, content planning, etc.
- I got this app called “Sticky Notepad” on my Mac, and I just pinned 3 different notes to my Mac home screen. This way I will always see them, it’s available offline(unlike notion), and I’m more likely to update something if it’s simple.
- I have a post-it for, school to-do, personal to-do, and things to remember.
- With this, I also use the native iCal app on the Mac, and that’s where I track my schedule, meetings, and stuff due. I integrated Canvas’s calendar with my iCal, and I also added my tutoring sessions, guitar classes, etc.
- These are both simple and don’t require much upkeep, compared to a bullet journal.
A good organization system will help you prepare for a new semester, and continue to be organized throughout the school year.
set your goals to prepare for a new semester
Your goals are crucial to prepping for a new semester. because you’re prepping to achieve something, to set yourself up for success. But what does success mean to you? For me the fall semester being successful means:
- Getting all A’s at the end of the semester
- Turning in my applications on time
- Finishing at least 2 coding projects
Now it’s time for you to think about your goals! You can create a vision board which I did(you can find it here), and I even have a post on how to create a vision board and inspo.
There are a lot of goals you can have, from being vague to detailed. From specific classes to life goals. However you want high-impact academic goals, to help you prepare for the new semester. This post explains how to do that: 3 steps for improving your academic goals, from weak to high impact.
I also recently posted on Instagram about my fall semester vision board:
a good routine goes a long way
I like knowing what I’m doing next, even if it’s something simple in my morning routine about washing my face or a night routine about packing my bag. Morning and night routines, no matter how simple, help us reenergize. Because as humans we enjoy structure and control. So you need to set good morning and night routines, while also making sure you have a good after-school routine. Getting a snack and spending a few hours on your bed scrolling on your phone, is not a productive routine.
In my last series, “the study series” I wrote a post on how to create your perfect study night routine + mine for inspiration. So I hope that helps if you’re stuck with creating one!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little rest, but you can’t expect to achieve your goals if your plan is to slack off every day. I struggle with this too, I tend to get distracted on my phone, and a little voice in my head is telling me how comfy my bed would be. And voila it’s already time for dinner, and I’m too tired and stuffed to do anything.
Don’t be like that. Of course, a little off time and relaxation sprinkled in is good, but don’t let yourself fall off like that. Something I do to counter this is just delete the apps that take most of my time, like TikTok or Instagram. And you’ll soon realize that your phone is boring.
Something that not only I do, but my friends as well, is if you have something important come up, remind yourself of it continuously. Keep the goal as your home screen, for example you want an A on your next math test, have that as your Home Screen. Write it on a Post-it and stick it behind your phone case or on your laptop.
In the end, as long as you have some structure when you come home, and if you struggle with that, think about an accountability partner. For example, go to the gym with someone, you don’t have to work with them but you could carpool. Go on walks with your friends. Go to the library to study but sit separately if you know you’ll be distracted.
One big thing I realized is that you don’t need a person as an accountability partner. What I do when I study at times, is film a time-lapse of me studying. Here are some pros of that:
- I won’t be on my phone because if I use it the recording stops.
- I feel more motivated because I want to study and I feel like doing it because I’m recording myself.
- Less likely to take long breaks because you don’t want to end the recording or waste time.
And of course, you don’t have to keep all of them, or even watch. I like to watch them sometimes and delete them right after. Let me know what other tips you guys have for building better routines.
Well, there you have it. 4 ways to prepare for a new semester. I always have a burst of energy and motivation at the beginning (maybe not my senior year), but as the sun sinks faster and it’s pitch dark at 5 pm, I don’t have any motivation to really get out of my warm bed and start watching YouTube videos on concepts that make me fall asleep.
However keeping a good routine, and being reminded of my goals with a vision board or keeping it as my home screen, encourages me to be a better student.