By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Hello friends! I hope you all had a great winter break filled with great food and good company. Here we are at the start of a new year, time for new beginnings and new life hacks to try out.
But before we turn over a new leaf, it’s important to take a look at the past and learn from our mistakes. Why don’t we take a close look at the fall semester and rectify the mistakes we made (if you didn’t make any, good for you – but let’s be real: we’ve all made mistakes).
Here are five things we (hopefully) learned from first semester:
This does not mean simply skimming. It may get the task done quickly, but not very well in the long run. When it comes to studying, websites like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes are helpful to refresh your memory, but the only way to actually know what’s going on is to read the real deal. Don’t have the time? Try an old elementary school tip and apply it to college by reading a portion of the assignment each night. You can also make a habit of active reading by taking notes or by quizzing yourself at the end of chapters, another great study tool.
2. Monitor your party habits.
Partying is fun, I get it. The experience is unlike any other, but at the same time, don’t be that desperate freshman looking to “turn up” every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. First semester it might hard to find the delicate balance between having a social life and partying too much, but now that we’ve had a semester to assimilate, it is no longer acceptable for you to stagger into your dorm every single weekend. Instead, plan out your weekend. One night out, another night in. Your body will thank you for less toxins and more sleep.
3. Get involved.
Academics are great, and should be a huge part of your life. However, if you spent your entire first semester hitting the books, it’s time to get some fresh air. Thankfully, BU has over 500 clubs and organizations, including the Community Service Center (CSC), that you can always find something to do. SPLASH may be over, but another way to find out what BU has to offer is through this great site that lists all our student organizations. If you don’t have the time to commit to anything specific, at least make a late New Year’s Resolution to explore Boston. Go see a Red Sox Game, visit a museum, the list goes on.
4. Make an effort to keep your friends.
This one isn’t as obvious, but if you notice, your friends have been coming and going all throughout first semester. The friends you thought you would keep all four years from orientation are no longer your friends and the random kid you met in math class is suddenly your best friend. Unlike high school, you don’t see your friends every single day, which makes things more difficult. Take the time to keep in contact with people, by making a lunch date to catch up. It will be worth it in the end.
5. Social media is not that important.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. We’re all obsessed, and while we say we can stop at anytime – the truth is, we can’t. Document how much time you spend on social media everyday for a week and you’ll how bad your media addiction really is. By learning to cut back, you can increase time spent on studying and spending time with friends, and therefore improve your grades and relationships. If you can’t stop checking your social media sites, look into applications such as Self-Control (Apple) that block you from accessing those pesky sites you go to by instinct.
Best of luck in making this semester even better than the last.
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
For most of us, midterm season just blew over and probably just left us under a pile of depression and sadness.
While we all want to stay underneath the covers for the rest of the semester, life goes on. Instead, we have to learn to deal with the disappointment and move past it.
No, it’s not possible to change your grade but it is possible to change the way you go about studying. Luckily, we still have half the semester to make up for it.
As usual, I have a few tips for you to make sure that you finish strong by the time the end of the semester comes around.
1. Self Control
I mean this both figuratively and literally. Studying requires self-control, as we all know. It is so easy to get distracted by that text from your crush or wash your dishes in the common room sink because they need to be washed again. Electronics will be our downfall, because the devices are just so distracting.
Luckily, there’s an app called Self Control, which lets you set a time during which you cannot access websites of your choosing (I recommend blocking the basics – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, your email, etc). The best, and worst, part of this app is that when it means x amount of hours, it means that many. If you try to turn it off to get rid of the timer, it won’t work. The only thing you can do is wait it out. For Mac users, this app is free. For you PC users, there is an app called Freedom, but it costs $10 to use so if you find that it is necessary, go for it.
2. Location, location, location
You sleep in your dorm room. You eat in your dining hall. Ideally, you should have a place to study. Kudos to you if you can successfully work at your desk in your dorm room. I, for one, can’t do that because I can’t even see the top of my desk (messy people unite) and because there are just way too many distractions in my dorm. I’m sure this applies to many of you. In my previous post, I found a couple of solid locations for studying. Wherever you are, just make sure that you can keep all distractions to a minimum.
Motivate yourself! With motivation, you’ll have a much better time completing your work and studying for tests because you’ll have a goal in mind. Whether this goal is to pass the class with an ‘A’ or grab a cheeseburger after you’re done, work towards them.
A good way to implement this is using the reward system. After reading a certain amount of pages, reward yourself with a snack or five minutes on Facebook (which is a bigger incentive than it seems).
Going off of incentives, taking breaks is a good way to recharge your brain. Staring at the same material for hours will start to strain your eyes and take a toll on your brain. Instead of going crazy studying, take a deep breath and set alarms every half an hour or so. Take a five minute break to do whatever you like and then get back to work. This way, you’ll feel refreshed and you won’t go completely batty after an intense study session.
What’s done is done, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! By taking things into our own hands, those bad grades can and will be made up.
Good luck to you all (I know I’ll need it) and happy studying!