How to Survive the Second Semester


A new semester is upon and if you’re anything like me, you’re telling yourself for the 10th time that this is the semester you’ll get right. Only, the semester loves to keep us on our toes with all these twists and surprises.

Hey semester, this isn’t a Shyamalan movie. Our faces are already horror enough.

But if you’re serious about getting this semester right and want to put your best foot forward, here are some of my tips for nailing the second semester:

1.) Keep a planner.


I don’t care if it’s a fancy one from Starbucks; I don’t care if it’s one you made yourself; I don’t even care if it’s your PHONE. But you need a planner. You need somewhere to list all those tests and due dates. You don’t want to rehash that e-mail to your teacher asking for forgiveness for missing the deadline scenario.

Get creative with your planner! The one I bought came with stickers, but if yours doesn’t you can always print out your own. Here, have some samples:


And if you’re not the creative type, your phone will do – just be sure to keep a calendar widget on your home page.

2.) Determine what your teachers are like.


The first time you meet your teacher, study them. Find out what they are like and if they’re strict or not. All teachers differ, and I noticed my Foreign Language teacher had a fondness for people who would participate a lot in class. Also, some teachers are very strict. The earlier you find out if you have any of those, the better.

My school has a website where you can read reviews of professors and classes and even write your own reviews. However, if you get stuck with a bad teacher, be sure to play by their principles. But first, find out what their principles are.

3.) Grab ANYBODY’s number in class.


I don’t even mean be friends with somebody, because making friends is hard, okay?! (Cue crying from shy people.) But it is definitely a must you get anybody’s number in class, especially if you know nobody from that class.

There was this one time where I wasn’t able to take a really important test because I had forgotten to write down the location and I didn’t have anybody to text. So save yourself from my humiliation and get those digits. It could help you out in more ways than you’d expect.

4.) Calculate the scores needed to pass.


Knowing how much you need to pass in each test can really help you out, because not all passing scores are the same and not all percentages are created equal. You may participate a lot in class only to find out participation isn’t even graded. You may thing a 50 equals a D when wham! Turns out, your teacher thinks a 70 is a D.

Not just that, but doing this and taking control of your grades is a really relaxing thing to do. Chances are, you’ve probably calculated how much you need to pass the day before finals. If you did this prematurely instead, that finals score may not need to be so big.

5.) Use your papers as a distraction.


If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a fanboy in college, it’s that papers serve as a huge distraction when you’re waiting for something.

Case in point: I was really excited for Hailee Steinfeld’s new movie The Edge of Seventeen to come out, and the week before it showed felt like forever. In order to distract myself, I did a bunch of my final papers, and the entire thing was so distracting I ended up finishing all of my papers before the week ended.

So instead of distracting yourself from doing your papers, do your papers to distract yourself from something else! Summer vacation, casting calls, that new album from your favorite artist…whatever it is, it works.

6.) Not understanding does not equal hating.


My final advice is the most important one: just because you don’t understand something, does not mean you hate it.

I’m glad I learned this lesson, because it helped me out so much. Hating a subject only made me want to avoid it. It made me believe that the reason why I wasn’t getting anything done was because I didn’t want to get anything done.

But this wasn’t true. I didn’t hate Zoology. Zoology never did anything to me. I just didn’t understand it. And not understanding made me want to understand it.

So the next time you find yourself having a hard time with a subject, don’t go straight to hating it right away. You might learn a lot if you opened yourself up to it.


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