Time for a New Semester

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It’s that time of year. Time to reflect on the mistakes of last semester and time to set goals for the new semester.

Every semester my goals are similar:

  • Stay organized
  • Stay on top of the assigned readings and assignments
  • Get good grades
  • Attend every lecture, recitation, lab, and practice study observation for all of my classes

I don’t only set goals for each semester but I also make a list of things I hope will happen that semester. Every semester I have the same 6 aspirations:

  • I’ll learn something useful in every class
  • I’ll improve my GPA
  • I’ll become more familiar with campus
  • I’ll meet more people
  • I’ll find a group of Christians that I can count on to help me expand my knowledge of the bible and who will hold me accountable to my faith
  • Get one step closer to my dream of working with animals

So as I reflect on last semester and make my lists for this semester the thought occurred to me that if I write it down in a list, I’ll be able to look at them when I need some inspiration and motivation. And maybe someone else will get ideas for their own semester.

So this semester I have decided to make my goals as follows.

  • Get Organized and Stay Organized- I have a binder set up for each class where all papers related to that class are kept. My goal is to make sure I utilize the binders for their intended purpose. In the past when the semester gets going I become lazy and I tend to put papers wherever is convenient and the binders lose their purpose of keeping me organized. But this semester I plan to change that. I also keep a TO-DO-LIST. I use a large-sized sticky note and am constantly cross items off or adding items along with their due date. This helps me stay on top of my assignments and keeps me from ever missing the due date of an assignment. The To-Do-List is something that I started last semester and I had a lot of success with it so, I plan to use it again. And the last thing I do to get and stay organized is to always keep my workspace clean. This may have to do with my touch of OCD but if my workspace is clean and is set up just how I like it, I’m less likely to get distracted and I can find what I need without spending a lot of time looking for it.
  • Have a Routine- Routines are so important yet so overlooked. Having a routine was a lot easier in high school than it is in college, but having a routine in college is still possible. My classes are the same every week. The same time, and the same place. And so is my work schedule. I will always work the same shift on the same day every week. This means I can have a weekly routine. I can decide when I will wake up each day of the week, decide when I need to leave for class, where to go between classes and what I will do during any downtime. I can have a certain time I work on homework, and hopefully have a time that I call it quits and go to bed each night. Now each week won’t be exactly perfect because classes do get canceled or I will have an exam thrown into my schedule. But if I make a point of keeping to the schedule I have come up with and make it my routine then I will keep myself accountable for attending all lectures and class meetings, having time to work on homework, and time for studying and doing my assigned readings for each class. And in the end a routine will help improve my study habits and hopefully my grades.
  • Get to Know at Least One Person in Each Class- This is a big one. If I make a point to go out of my way and get to know someone in each of my classes then not only am I meeting new people but I am also opening a door to having a study partner. Having a study partner can motivate me to take better notes, attend class, and start studying for exams before the day of the exam. With a study partner I will have someone who I can compare notes with, have someone to sit with in class (which makes attending a large lecture more bearable), and have someone to discuss an upcoming exam with. A study partner can help explain a topic that I’m confused about and that not only helps me but it helps my study partner because if you can explain a topic to someone then that means you really understand the material and its a great way to study.
  • Set Goals for Each Class- This can be tedious but by having goals or things I hope to get out of a class can prompt me to try harder in the class, ask questions, and stay on top of the material. What I’m hoping to get out of each of my classes this semester are as follows:
    • Com 251
      • I want to learn about different avenues of technology that I don’t have experience with.
      • I want to be able to effectively communicate what I mean when talking about different types of technology.
      • I want my mind to be opened to trying different things. Things that I would normally stay away from because I already have something that works for me. For example, using Google Docs instead of using Microsoft programs. I’ve been dragging me feet on this one for a while. I know Microsoft and I’m comfortable with Microsoft so I’ve not wanted to change. I want to be more inclined to want to try all the new technologies instead of fearing the change.
    • Agec 217
      • I want my knowledge of economics to be expanded
      • I want to be able to apply economics to the agricultural world.
      • I want to see if I can apply the economics that I already know to the new material.
    • Chm 112
      • I want to learn more chemistry. I’ve been taught the same concepts multiple times over the years and this class will finally move beyond that. This will test my ability to apply the chemistry concepts to new material.
    • Stat 301
      • I want to test my knowledge of statistics and expand on the small amount of statistics that I took in high school.
      • I want to be able to understand exactly what statistics are and how we come up with them and be able to understand statistics in their everyday application.
      • I want to be able to apply statistics into the other courses I take.
    • Gs 490
      • I want to expand my people skills.
      • I want to learn better skills for mediation and conflict resolution.
      • I want to learn how to work in group setting better than I do now.
  • Set Aside Time for God- After moving away from home and going to college I realized that I have to be more intentional about making time for God. I don’t have a church here that I can go to every Sunday and spend time with a congregation worshiping and learning about God. I don’t have youth group once a week to again spend time learning about God. Instead I have to intentionally make time for God. I have to remind myself to slow down and pray. I have to look up sermons to listen to online Sunday mornings since I haven’t found a church that teaches what I believe that’s within walking distance of my dorm on Sunday mornings. I have to remind myself to pray before meals because my parents aren’t choosing one of my siblings or I to say grace before we eat and the craziness of a dining court can distract me but then I remember, and I have to stop eating and talking and paying attention to the people I’m with to thank God for the food I’m about to eat. Things about my faith that were a given when living at home or that my parents would remind me to do I now have to do by myself. But I’ve found things that help. I found a bible study that meets once a week that is made up of girls that live in my dorm. My church started uploading the sermons to our church website, http://www.encountertrinity.com/#/media. When I feel down and need to feel closer to God I can play some of my favorite worship songs. Even if I’m not worshiping in a congregational setting I can still feel closer to God when singing songs that praise Him. And I can set aside time in my routine for reading God’s Word. I even found a weekly planner that gives me a section of the bible to read each day.

So this semester I plan on focusing on all the things I covered above and at the end of my first week of the semester I can already say that I’m sticking to my plan.

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