Friends are posting pictures of finally returning to school. Pre-class emails from professors are trickling into your inbox. If you’re lucky, your parents are asking you if you need anything before you go back to school. It may not be happening just yet, but it’s starting: holiday break is drawing to a close and second semester is beginning. For the new college kids, this may hit you harder. Depending on how holiday break went, you may be coming in on second semester like it’s fresh oxygen and you’ve been in an underwater facility for a month. Or, you’ll have been enjoying free time – lounging in your pajamas, watching every episode of Grey’s Anatomy in order, and snuggling with your pet. Or not. Doesn’t everyone do holiday break like that? Just me? Okay.
But second semester! It’s a strange animal your freshman year of college. If I’m guessing right, you want it back at least a little bit because you fell in love with college and you feel more comfortable there than you do at home. Your new friends are there, your complete independence is there, and perhaps most of your clothes. Yeah, you love the good food and strong wi-fi, but you want back. And then you get back, and it’s like, here are classes! Work! Studying! Oh, and the strong scent of summer refuses to waft towards you as incentive. It’s dark land of winter, and it’s cold (even in Texas), and you have work to do. This may sound hard, seeing as you are still in brain hibernation mode, but you can do it! Why? Well…
1. You’ve done it before: Hey, remember high school? This is no different. It may be even better because you get new classes, and new people to shuffle around with. Unless you go to one of those small schools, I hear that doesn’t happen as much there….
2. It’s just college. No, really. It’s just another semester of college. This is all old hat to you! Look at this as your badge of honor. You totally survived your first semester, because they didn’t bar you from the campus. So tell yourself you can come back and totally own the place, because, well, you earned it.
3. You know how to study now. Well, I hope you do. By now, you’ve probably figured out what works and what doesn’t, and you can actually enter your classes with a plan to help keep you on track.
These are the three to keep in mind as you work through this new semester. Before you know it, Spring Break will be upon you (which is a completely different animal) and then the home stretch before summer, which I assure you is as sweet (if not sweeter) as the way it was when you were freed from high school’s evil clutches. When you go back to school, here are some tips to boost you forth after the novelty of new classes wears off:
1. Off to the store! Go buy some of your favorite snacks that you normally only get at home. Food is comfort. And love. And everything.
2. Make plans. Call up your friends in college to help you get back into the groove of the whole place. Invite them over, invite them out, but do something with people to remind you that you have a whole social set up there too, because you might miss the one you had guaranteed at home.
3. Set some goals. No, not New Year’s Resolutions, but stuff to work towards, like actually speaking up in class, or talking to classmates to form a study group. I hear socialization can actually be helpful here, give it a shot! Or not. But think of something that you would like to get done that will benefit your wellbeing for class (or something) and decide to do it.
When my second semester started, I remember being incredibly thankful and a bit stressed. First semester had not gone splendidly, and I wanted better everything (especially grades) and so I felt majorly pressured. At the same time, I had been able to really set up a nice schedule that I felt great about, and more comfortable with myself. There was new opportunity available to me and I was going to seize it. Regardless of what first semester was for you, second semester can be great. It’s there! Now go forth and come see me when you’re making plans for spring break. I’ll be gathering supplies. For that. Or the zombie apocalypse.