I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the holidays, my bed becomes my best friend. Its comfy, warm, and I can sit and watch TV all day in it! I also find myself managing to stay in bed until the afternoon because I have nothing else to do. However, flash forward three weeks, and getting out of bed at 9 o’clock for lectures, or 7:30, as I was crazy enough to pick an 8 o’clock class, and suddenly it is hell! Not only do I need to learn to detach myself from the wonderful place that is my bed, but I also need to get myself back into a routine of studying! And homework! And papers!
On arrival for my first semester, the prospect of studying in a new country was daunting as everything was going to be a little different. My first challenge was finding out that lectures aren’t 50 minutes like they are at home, but, on average, 75 minutes or more. Now, 25 minutes doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, but it can really feel like it if it meant you could have stayed in your comfy bed longer. And then there are the assignments, which come a lot more often in the US than they do at home in the UK. I struggled a few times during my first semester when I had up to 4 assignments to do at once, but the key to surviving is planning. I know I sound incredibly boring saying that, but by planning, it gives you the opportunity to take weekends away or go to see a baseball game for example.
So here are my tips for starting off the semester well:
1) Try to establish a regular sleeping pattern – yes staying up till 1 am every night watching Youtube videos can be fun, but your body will not forgive you at 9 am!
2) Plan your day, and see if there are gaps where you can fit in an exercise class or a quick trip to the gym – my escape is always swimming; totally clears your head.
3) Plan your work schedule, whether this means reading through the semester’s course guides or the assigned reading list, filling in your diary with important events can really help.
4) MAKE TIME FOR FUN – even if that is just a quick dinner with friends, or ice skating at Washington harbor (the rink is open till march!).
Follow these tips and I promise your semester will be the best ever.