By Kelly Martin, Toppel Peer Advisor



Last week was week 6 of the semester. Yup, we are now halfway through Fall 2014. As a senior, I very quickly did the math that this means I am now ¼ through my senior year, and that much closer to graduating to the real world. But for students in every grade, this is a time during the semester where it’s easy to lose focus. Fall break is just around the corner, and Thanksgiving break is also looming just a month and a half away; it seems like we’re more just getting by, counting down the days to our freedom, rather than actually focusing on successfully finishing out the fall semester.

Rather than letting mid-semester blues drag you down, take this opportunity to get in the right mindset to finish the semester with a bang. Most classes have probably had one midterm test, paper, or project so far, so it’s time to evaluate where you stand. If you did well, that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off. That means you must have good study skills for that class, or have a firm grasp on the material, so use that to motivate you to continue to excel through the semester. If you didn’t do so well, that’s fine! One grade isn’t the end of the world and you still have plenty of opportunity to turn things around. Go over your exam and see what mistakes you made. Meet with your professor and talk about what you could be doing to understand the material better, or ask about better ways to prepare for exams.
Many classes also have a big end of semester term paper or project that now seems even closer after getting those first few exams out of the way. While you may feel like turning off the brain for a bit after all those midterm exams, don’t let yourself fall behind! It’s easy to put big projects like that off until the last minute, which will cause you more stress in the end. You won’t regret getting a head start and continuing to work hard now, so you have less work later. Make sure you’re aware of when the rest of your exams for the semester are, so you can plan the best times to study for those imminent exams, and the best time to work on those long term projects.
But finally, maybe most importantly, make sure you don’t overdo it. Yes, you want to finish Fall 2014 strong, but you won’t be able to do that if you sacrifice your health. Getting sick from lack of sleep or overworking yourself is a great way to fall behind, because it’s pretty hard to get work done when you don’t even want to get out of bed. So make sure you plan some personal time to nap, relax, or whatever it is you need to distress and keep healthy and level-headed.
So to sum it up, what are the most important things to do to keep going strong through the end of the semester?
1. Evaluate:where are you now, and where do you want to be? If you’re doing well in your classes so far, keep it up. If you’re struggling, take steps to help yourself improve.
2. Plan: make sure you’ve looked at your syllabus and know when the rest of your exams are, when projects are due, etc. If you have these written down on a calendar or planner ahead of time, you’ll be able to plan out your studying and reduce your stress.
3. Take care of yourself: you don’t want to lose your momentum going into the second half of the semester, but that doesn’t mean you should work yourself to the bone. Yes, stay on top of your work, study hard, but make sure to schedule time for yourself too. Whether its reading a book for personal pleasure, catching up on a Netflix show, or even just taking a nap, make sure you have time for yourself so you stay happy and healthy. You’ll be more productive, and most likely, more successful in all your work!
So working with these tips in mind, go out there and crush the rest of the semester!