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5 1/2 Things for Taking Back the Second Half of the Semester

Math 187 with professor Zach Teitler, photos of Marijke Vanderschaaf for FOCUS Magazine, Allison Corona photo.

There’s a phenomenon that tends to happen at this point in the year. Maybe it’s the cold weather or fatigue of six months of school, or maybe even a combination of other things too. But it’s effects can be boiled down to one word: burnout. Yes, finding motivation to push forward with classes and school becomes very, very tough. If you’re in an academic slump or need a little motivation to finish the second half of the semester strong, keep reading for 5 ½ things to take back the second half of the semester.

1) Be honest with yourself

The first step in taking back the semester is to be real with yourself and your situation. If you feel like you’re slacking in a class or know that you have a set of missing assignments, pretending they don’t exist or “forgetting” about them isn’t going to work. Own up to what needs to be done or changed and then you can make a plan of action from that honesty!

2) Go to class

An easy way to get back into the groove of things is simply attending classes. While it may be difficult to roll out of bed and walk onto campus (especially on those colder mornings) being present is not only going to keep you present in the course but also show your professors and classmates that you’re serious about your education. If logging onto and being focused in Zoom meetings or getting started in asynchronous work is the issue, the Timer Technique discussed in our academic goal setting article is a great tactic.

3) Chat with your professors

If you know that you’ve been struggling in a course, talking with your professor is a great way to get on the same page. In the same way that you’ve been honest with yourself, be honest with those people who can help you make a change in the right direction. Saying something along the lines of, “I’m really trying to turn things around going forward” or even asking if there’s ways you could make up or re-do certain assignments can be a great place to start. Taking that initiative can go a long way in professors’ willingness to work with you!

4) Adjust how you’re spending your time

Having regular and planned time to study or do homework can be a valuable tool in making the semester yours. Set aside a realistic amount of hours every week to stay ahead of the workload. At this point in the semester — when you have your weekly schedule figured out a bit better than at the start — it may be dialing back some hours at work or other obligations to make sure school comes first. Getting (and staying!) organized with a plan is key!

5) Take diligent notes

Once you’ve committed to being present in classes, taking quality notes is a great way to own future assignments, tests, or papers. This can also be a great opportunity to take notes in a new way that makes it more effective for you! If you commit now and stick with it, Broncos, you can make it happen.

5 ½)  Recognize there is light at the end of the tunnel!

You’ve (almost) managed to make it through an entire academic year. There are just over two months left before the end of the semester – this is going to be an impressive feat! Not to mention, in a matter of weeks the weather is going to start to get warmer and brighter. Things are only going to get easier after you make it over this little slump, Broncos!

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