Starting the Semester Strong

It’s the start of a new school year, and you’re pumped to be back, or maybe you’re starting your entire college career. There are some important thing to remember as you go through your first few weeks concerning homework, sleep, and health.
Homework
The dreaded “h” word. Whether you’re new to college or a seasoned veteran, this word means hours spent doing something you don’t want to do for a class you maybe don’t want to be in. You have to remember these simple things regarding homework: it will help you succeed in this class and future classes, it does matter to your immediate understand of the class, and it should be done as soon as possible.
I cannot count the number of times that my previous classes have influenced my understanding of my current classes. Now, you might think “of course it does, Alexis. They’re all about writing.” However, I can tell you that I have studied a number of different styles of writing, from screenwriting to writing for a job. I did not think that my screenwriting class would influence my understanding of nonfiction writing, but it has. I have learned to connect the different commonalities to improve my writing style. I’m sure this is true in other majors as well. Math is important to any science, so it’s good that you have to take Math 141. Writing skills are important to any major that requires communication between peers, so it’s good that you have to take English 101 and 102. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. Homework takes these skills from previous classes and teaches you to use them in your current class. Without it, you might not realize that these connections are there.
Your current classes may suggest certain writing assignments but not require them. One important thing to remember: it doesn’t matter if they’re required, the teacher thinks it will help your understanding of the subject matter. I’m not saying to do every single suggested activity. If you completely understand what is going on without doing the assignment, don’t waste your time doing it. However, if you have no clue what’s going on, do the assignment. It will help, even if you don’t immediately realize it. Your grade relies heavily on the homework that you have to do each day, so make sure you get as many points as possible. Don’t give up with half the points you could potentially earn.
You also don’t want to be unable to complete an assignment because you put it off. Again, I know this from personal experience. I have always been a procrastinator. However, this semester while working two jobs and doing an internship and taking eighteen credits, I have learned that the homework that I would normally put off until the last minute is better off being done as soon after it is assigned as possible. Doing this allows me more time to hang out with friends, and it allows some of stress of having all of that going on to be released. I don’t have to worry about how much time it’s going to take, because I’ve already done it. If you take nothing else from this article, which you should, remember this: do not put your homework off, it lessens the quality of your work.

Sleep

As an insomniac, I know the importance of sleep. I have never received the recommended hours of sleep without taking a sleeping medicine prescribed by my doctors. Get the amount you need. It might seem pointless. However, that party you went to the other day caused you to go to bed at 3 A.M. Now, you’re tired and oversleeping. Staying up later than you would any other day will throw off your sleep schedule. Waking up later than usual, as you most likely would end up doing after staying up until 3, also throws off your sleep schedule. I don’t mean that you should stay up until three every night, so you can go to parties and have fun. I’m saying that you should go to bed at a decent time every night, even if it means leaving the party a little early. Scientists recommend 9 hours of sleep every night. This is because if you don’t get enough sleep, you become grumpy, have a shorter temper, and are more likely to catch whatever illness is going around at the time. The less energy (produced by sleep) your body has, the less well your immune system deals with the onslaught of illnesses that college, and dorms, provide.

Health

One thing that you should absolutely remember regarding your health: if you push yourself to go to class when you are genuinely sick, you likely will end up missing more subsequent classes. This does not mean skip class for every little cold you get, because you will get a lot from the exposure to new germs. It simply means that if you have the flu or strep or whatever other big illness goes around, stay home. Your teacher will probably be happy to avoid that illness. If you find yourself getting a lot of the sicknesses that go around, go to the doctor and get a doctor’s note. You probably have more going on inside your body. You have to make sure you keep in touch with your teachers if something like this happens. It’s important to remember that college is four years (or slightly more than four years) of your life and serious, untreated illness could cause issues your whole life.
So, while you enjoy the beginning of the semester, remember that you also have to work on homework, sleep, and take care of yourself. Please, keep these ideas in mind.