Planning for a Successful Semester

The change of seasons and the start of a new semester in school bring an opportunity to reflect upon where you are and how you might improve. This time represents a new dawn, a fresh start, and a blank page in the book. How will the semester turn out? Consider the following scenario.

Imagine yourself in early May. The forsythia bloomed in March, the daffodils and tulips bloomed a month or so ago, and grass is bright green and being mowed regularly. The semester has ended, your papers are all turned in and your exams have been completed. Your projects with student organizations are done, and you had a good life outside the classroom over the semester. And, you feel refreshed! You are now just finishing up on campus, and preparing for whatever the summer brings. And you think – “Wow! I’m really pleased with how the semester went; I’m ready for the summer, and I’m proud of all I accomplished and how I did.”

That’s a great feeling – and something that most of us seek. While it’s kind of obvious that we wouldn’t seek failure or disappointment, those often do happen, and happen with too many students. The question now – in January – is how you can get the outcomes you want, and minimize your disappointments and lack of success. What is that you can do now – how can you be planful and organized? How do you take charge of your life, and maximize (not guarantee, but enhance) the chances for your desired outcomes?

Undoubtedly, no magic bullets exist. But specific tools are available to help. The most important thing, right now, is to have a vision of the desired outcome, and a plan to achieve it. Think clearly about what you want and what will help YOU to obtain that result; think also about what’s in the way of you getting that result, and find ways of eliminating or reducing these obstacles.

Some examples may help. If time management and procrastination are an issue for you, or are not at their best, work on those specifically; read the section on Time Management in COMPASS, and try out some of the resources and tips. Perhaps you can find a workshop on campus that helps with this. Similarly with study skills or test-taking – check out the section here on Writing and Study Skills, and see the variety of resources at CAPS as well as with the Writing Center. If the issue is one about having too many extracurricular activities, consider what your priorities are; and if you find yourself overly involved with drugs or alcohol, take a look at some of the resources written about here.

Again there are no simple answers or easy solutions. There are, however, lots and lots and lots of tools and resources on campus, and COMPASS is a great vehicle for guiding you to take charge of your own life, and for creating healthy choices.

Perhaps some careful thought and planning on these can be helpful in achieving the good results that you want and deserve.

Enjoy the journey!


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