A new semester is a new opportunity for personal and academic growth. These three tips will help you succeed.

The start of a new semester can be daunting. For some, it may mean working toward various academic and personal goals by building upon the foundation laid last semester. For others, it could entail starting fresh with an entirely new foundation and perfecting it before focusing on personal growth. Whatever might apply to you, there are several ways to ensure you are prepared to tackle a new semester.

Get a planner: Planners may seem elementary and trivial to some, but having the means to manually write out assignments, projects and upcoming events will help ensure that you stay organized. Many planners include an overview of each month in a calendar format. This is a great place to outline bigger events such as midterms, finals exams or projects — even appointments and interviews. Having a planner is one of the most effective ways to stay organized and diligent. It is also helpful to visualize a list of tasks that you must complete every night, and cross them off as you finish them. Doing so serves as a form of motivation, and provides personal satisfaction as you cross each item off.

Set goals: It is great to strive to “do better,” but everyone has a different definition of success. Setting one or two long-term academic goals can help clarify the steps you must take to succeed. Your goals could be broad, such as improving class attendance. Likewise, they could be narrow, such as setting a specific GPA goal. After determining a couple of goals, write out a variety of steps you can take to achieve them. If you want to attend class every day, try waking up a little earlier so you have more time to prepare in the morning. If you want to improve your grades or overall GPA, try organizing a study schedule so you can determine how much time to allot to each class. This allows you to efficiently study every subject without getting too overwhelmed or succumbing to stress. Furthermore, setting goals gives you something to look forward to as the semester goes on, as it allows you to track your progress.

Forget about last semester: Regardless of your performance last semester, the past is the past. If you were happy with your grades, be motivated to perform as well or better than you did this fall. If you weren’t so happy with your grades, the beginning of a new year and new semester will give you a chance to try again and work harder. Put last semester in the past and focus on the challenges and opportunities that will present themselves this year. Focusing on the past in any situation prevents you from moving forward, and if you focus too much on your previous grades, it could hinder your performance in future classes. Instead, focus on your goals and stay organized, and this semester will fly by like the last one.


Zielinski oversees TNR's editorial staff and has been with The News Record since 2016. Past internships: Cincinnati Enquirer, UC College of Arts & Sciences