Starting a new semester brings lots of changes and as college students we must adapt to a new class schedule, possibly a new living arrangement, and other new opportunities that come our way.  This semester is unlike any other with lots of precautionary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with lots of classes and extracurricular activities happening virtually. Each student is in a unique situation and now more than ever it is important to create a routine that works best for you.  Here are some ideas and tips on how to customize a routine that will help you make the best of this semester!

The Routine Itself:

To start, think about your current daily routine. What do you like and dislike about your current routine? What changes do you want to make? It is helpful for you to know what stands as a priority and making time for things that are important to you no matter the reason. Once you establish what you want to do, schedule when you want to do it. You can start with your class schedule, and block out the time to do whatever it is you need to do. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind when making your schedule for each day.

Set Aside Time For Academics:

As students, we have scheduled times for when we are in the classroom, whether it is virtually or in-person. With having non-traditional schedules this semester, it is likely that we are on the computer more than normal and everything may seem to blend together. One suggestion is to designate specific times when you are not in class to complete your schoolwork. You can either make each time slot a general work time or assign a class to it so you know you are focusing on all of your classes. Be mindful of assignment due dates as well when you plan to do your homework.

Keep Your Health A Priority:

In the midst of the pandemic that we are currently enduring, it is more important now than ever to keep your health a priority. Beyond trying to not spread the virus, it is important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Don’t forget to practice basic health tasks like staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, showering, eating a balanced diet, and staying active. To reduce the spread of the virus it’s important to wear your face covering while not home, wash your hands, clean high-use surfaces frequently, avoid touching your face, and stay home if you feel unwell. In addition to physical health, it is also important to remember to take care of your mental health as well. We are living in a stressful time, and adding in classes, extracurricular activities, and working one or more jobs may impact your mental health. Remember to not overwork yourself and take breaks if needed. Don’t be afraid reach out to friends, family, or other loved ones to talk about how you are feeling if you are ever feeling down. 

The University also offers counseling services for students who need to address any problem you may have. More info can be found using this link:

If you haven’t read our blog from last week “How to Stay Healthy in the Dorms this Fall” check it out using this link for more tips on how to keep your health a priority this semester.

How To Make Your Routine Work For You:

Getting into a mindset of creating and having a routine after a long summer may be daunting for some students. Remember that creating a routine is all for you and that you can customize it to be whatever you want it to be. Customizing your routine is similar to writing an essay; it is likely that your first draft will not be your final draft. Don’t be afraid to adjust and make changes if you feel a certain component isn’t working for you. Once you finalize your routine, you should be consistent with it. In addition, try to start and end your day at the same time each day and night so your routine, and sleep schedule stays consistent. Lastly, make sure to set aside some free time for yourself so you can do things you enjoy and that are important to you.

Additional Tools:

There are many tools that can be used to help solidify the routine. Lots of students use planners to keep track of obligations and due dates. Several formats are available with monthly, weekly, and daily layouts that can be bought no matter what your budget is. There is also the option to make your own planner using a notebook or journal with blank pages to completely customize to your liking! 

Another tactic is to set alarms on your phone to remind you to do specific things as they arise. With doing this, be mindful of your surroundings and lower the volume on your device or have it vibrate if you have the option to. 

If you have a smart phone, there are also many apps available to download onto your phone that can help you stay on track with your routine. Lots of these apps are free, so you can experiment and see which one works best for you! The UW-Whitewater app is a great app to try as it allows you to see your upcoming classes and other important notifications as a UW-W student.

The best part of making a routine is that it all revolves around you, your schedule, and what is important to you. You have the power to change any detail you feel isn’t right for you. Establishing a solid, consistent routine can help you succeed in a semester that is drastically different than what traditional semesters entail. Best of luck to everyone with the new semester!