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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New year, new semester

Sophie Villarreal
(Graphic by Sophie Villarreal/The Battalion)

With unwrapped presents, popped fireworks and many cheers to the new year, the time all students dread has arrived: spring semester. After such a short break, some students struggle to find academic motivation again. These suggestions will help prepare for a smooth start to the semester.

Set a schedule

Assignments often seem never-ending and become overwhelming. Setting a schedule allows for better time management and makes a busy timetable less intimidating. 

Communication and international studies sophomore Odyssey Butler-Borner said marking down time commitments and obligations is beneficial for ensuring a proper work-life balance.

“I’ve been adding everything to my calendar,” Butler-Borner said. “Like anything and everything that’s been popping up, I’ve been adding it to my Google calendar. So whether it’s classes, [organization] events, whether it’s work, I’ve been adding it all to my calendar, so I can go ahead and see and I can try and plan my life around that. I’ve also worked on clearly blocking out personal time to focus on myself.”

Planning everything out is key to staying on track, biology freshman Aishat Amoo said.

“I use a good [old] fashion like a physical planner,” Amoo said. “If I don’t write it down I’m not remembering to do [it,] so yeah, I think that’s definitely something that I have to keep with me.”

After last semester, engineering freshman Avery Adams said she plans to better schedule her assignments and not procrastinate.

“I think I need to start work earlier,” Adams said. “To get ahead of that work, ask questions, go to my office hours and to not stress out. … I can stress myself out to the point where I don’t want to do anything anymore, and that’s not really healthy. So, I’m going to take a different approach to it, and get into it beforehand and take necessary breaks.”

Create boundaries

As external demands such as jobs, organizations and personal affairs begin to pile up, time seems to slip away. Creating boundaries helps build parameters in your day-to-day schedule and allocate time to what’s most important.

It’s often tempting to follow what others do or commit to everything even when assignments and work await. Sacrificing personal fun and learning when to say no to get work done is important, Amoo said.

“I definitely learned that people should have their own boundaries,” Amoo said. “ I feel like there are a lot of instances where I could have decided to go with what everyone else’s schedule was instead of prioritizing whether I had a test or something. I think definitely having boundaries and priorities is something that I’m taking [into] next semester.”

Creating strict boundaries like rest days is useful when trying to prioritize physical and mental health, Butler-Borner said.

“I’ve been … making sure that I have time, like blocking out specific hours where it’s like, no, this is going to be time specifically for me to rest,” Butler-Borner said. “I’ve also been trying to move things off of certain days if possible. Like Sunday, I try not to do any work unless I absolutely have to.”

Pulling all-nighters is a common trend among college students, but Amoo said as she’s learned to build her own boundaries when it comes to studying, this method isn’t beneficial for her. 

“I’m very ready to stop, very ready to limit myself and very ready to take breaks,” Amoo said. “I have certain boundaries; for instance, when it’s past 12 [a.m.], I’m not doing schoolwork. I might be awake past 12, but it’s not schoolwork. I always make sure I have ‘me’ time at the end of the day. I’ll just study all I can and then sleep because I’m never pulling an all-nighter.”

Maintain personal interests

While school is of utmost importance, indulging in personal hobbies can help relieve stress by focusing on something other than all of life’s responsibilities, Butler-Borner said. 

“I’ve been trying to find, I guess, a more creative outlet,” Butler-Borner said. “For instance, baking: I used to be super into baking, but once I started college, I realized that I haven’t really been doing that because I’ve been so busy, even though I’ve loved doing it.”

Apply these tips as you wish, and maybe this semester could be the best one yet.

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About the Contributors
Sydnei Miles
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor
Sydnei Miles is a communication sophomore and journalism minor from Houston, Texas. She began reporting for The Battalion in the fall 2022 semester covering culture and community events happening on and around campus. Since January 2024, Sydnei has served as The Battalion's head Life & Arts editor and previously served as the assistant Life & Arts editor for some of the spring 2023 semester and for the fall 2023 semester.
Sophie Villarreal
Sophie Villarreal, Community Engagement Manager
Howdy! My name is Sophie Villarreal, and I am the Community Engagement Manager for The Battalion! -- I'm sure you're thinking... "what the heck does that mean?" -- And that is completely valid. Basically, I help figure out how we are working with the community and with that, try to build on it. I use data analytics to track our progress online and on social media to help us connect with you, our incredible audience even more. I am a Telecommunication Media Studies Major with two minors in Journalism and Philosophy, as well as two certificates in Social Media and Pre-Law. If you would like to see more on what it means to be part of The Battalion, check out our Instagram!
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  • K

    Kelly CoxJan 19, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Howdy! It is exciting to see an article about what students can do to create positive impacts on their overall wellbeing. Our office has been conducting a large assessment initiative on student wellbeing for the past 3 academic years. All the data we’ve collected can be found on a dashboard on our website. It will not let me include a link with my comment, but please contact me and I am happy to share that with you. If you would be interested in a story or sharing more about what we know about students’ wellbeing and what we are doing to improve it, please feel free to contact me. Thank you!