How to not only survive but thrive this semester

By Meredith Cox, Staff Writer

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The start of another semester brings many things: new classes, new activities, and new friendships. All of these novel experiences come with unchartered territory. This means that what seems like an exciting and fresh start can easily turn into an overwhelming and stress-inducing situation. So, here are some ways you can kick off this semester in a calm, productive, and enjoyable way.

Get into a routine. Use this first week to figure out your schedule, seeing what works best for you. Play around with your meetings, classes, and other activities. This is the time to figure out how you can be the most productive this semester. One benefit of having a set schedule is checking more things off your to-do list. When you allot time for certain activities, say going to the library in between classes, you are more likely to get homework or other assignments done if it is what you are accustomed to doing.

Remember to stay energized. This can be accomplished in many different ways. It could be waking up a couple minutes earlier each morning to make it to breakfast, fueling up for the day. It could mean grabbing a midday snack at the Dive, like one of their new smoothies. It could even be grabbing a cup of coffee or tea from the Commons before a long three-hour lecture. There are so many things going on in a college student’s day-to-day life, so it is crucial to remain alert and aware.

Carve out some personal time. Try to schedule some daily down time so you do not burn out too early on in the semester. This may be taking a run through the battlefields, cooking yourself a favorite meal, watching some Netflix, reclining on Stine Lake, or reading in the commons. Self-care is something we don’t often prioritize, but is one of the easiest things that we can control.

Take advantage of the new opportunities on campus. The beginning of a semester comes with new clubs, classes, and friends. Make a resolution to try something different this semester. Some great ideas are joining an intramural team (the fall teams include flag football, soccer, and beach volleyball), going to a club meeting (pre-health club, pre-law club, cooking club, College Republicans or Democrats), or signing up for an experiential program (through the Garthwait Leadership Center, Eisenhower Institute, or Center for Public Service).

Get ahead on work. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “syllabus week” here at Gettysburg. By now we all have homework, readings, and papers assigned. Take this time, where activities and meetings may not be in full swing just yet, to really stay on top of, if not get ahead on, some work. Get organized and lay out all of your assignments for the upcoming semester, dedicating some time to each class now, so that things do not pile up and so you don’t have to pull an all-nighter before reading days. Everyone is trying to get back into school-mode after the summer, so do not worry if it feels like you are the only one struggling to stay motivated and proactive.

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