How to survive second semester

Second semester has arrived, which means the days of endlessly scrolling through TikTok and watching Netflix over winter break are behind us. After pushing through first semester finals, finding any motivation to begin schoolwork again once break is over can be difficult. The second half of the school year may seem daunting, but following these tips will help make a challenging semester easier. 


Use a planner to keep track of upcoming assignments (Liv Timp)

1. Stay organized

In order to succeed in school, it is important to stay on top of assignments. One way to ensure each task is completed on time is to keep track of due dates. Using a planner, Google Calendar, or even a list using Notes or Stickies on your computer can help keep assignments on track. For even more organization, designate a color for each class or day of the week in order to see what work is due soon. 


2. Change up your study space

Studying in the same space can make schoolwork seem monotonous, so a change to your environment may make homework more bearable. First, clear off any clutter or excess papers left over from first semester. Then, consider adding a new plant or candle to liven up the space. 


Avoid using your phone while studying (Liv Timp)

3. Keep your phone out of sight

Constant notifications and buzzes coming from your phone can be distracting, especially when trying to study for an important test. In order to make the most of your time spent doing homework, try putting your phone out of sight or on do not disturb. 


4. Take breaks 

It is important to take breaks while doing homework to avoid overwhelming yourself. If you seem to be spending more time taking breaks rather than studying, try setting reminders to give yourself a five minute break after every 30 minutes spent studying. Just turned in a big essay or project? Give yourself a reward like a sweet treat or a socially distanced night with friends. 




Going to class helps you understand new material (Liv Timp)

5. Attend every class

Whether in-person or online, attending class is important in order to understand new information taught in class. If you can’t attend a lesson, check in with your teacher to catch up on the material you missed while absent.


6. Ask questions 

If a new concept doesn’t make sense, ask your teacher for clarification. If there isn’t time in class, make use of homeroom, office hours or after school tutoring where you can ask teachers to clear up any confusion you may have. Getting help allows you to gain a better understanding of the material, making you feel more confident while taking the test. 



Finding a good playlist can make studying more bearable. (Liv Timp)

7. Find a good playlist

According to Healthline, listening to music while studying can lead to “improved mood, increased motivation, and improved memory and brain stimulation.” If you are lacking in these areas, try playing some background music the next time you sit down for a night of studying. Make yourself a playlist of music you can study to or search YouTube for instrumental study music. 


8. Avoid procrastination 

There are few things worse than the thought of spending hours doing schoolwork. Although endlessly scrolling through Instagram sounds a lot more appealing than completing your review packet, leaving assignments until the last minute leads to unnecessary stress. In order to do well this semester, stay on top of your assignments and avoid procrastinating. 


9. Adjust your sleep schedule

Getting a good night sleep is important in order to pay attention in school (Liv Timp)

As teenagers, it is difficult to get the recommended amount of sleep when we lead such chaotic lives, but getting as much sleep as possible is vital. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night and see how much better you feel the next day. If you seem to toss and turn while trying to fall asleep, avoid using your phone once you begin winding down for the night. 




10. Study with a group 

Studying alone can make an awful assignment even worse. To help solve that problem, try setting up a study session over Zoom with other classmates so you can be productive and have some fun at the same time. According to Oxford Learning, “A true test in knowing if a student understands a concept or not is if he or she is able to explain it to someone else.” By studying in a group, it is easier to test yourself on which concepts you may need to review.