For our spring-naugural — we're off to a good start! —Topic of the Week, we asked the editors to share some tips for a successful spring term, something that, apparently, is about to start. Time flies! But it flies much faster when you're doing well. So listen up, kids. Here's some sage advice.
Jay Walker - Find your spot
The key to having a successful semester is putting in the effort from the start. The best way to get a head start is to find the perfect place — the place you feel most productive. Whether it be the library, a bench on the mall, a café or a desk at home, having a set place to do work can make a world of difference in how successful you are this semester. Creating a space that is exclusively set aside for being productive will help create a healthy mindset toward work. Find the best spot to work this semester and set aside time to go there. Have this place be dedicated only for work — don’t go there to hang out or take a nap. Keep this place productivity-oriented to help build healthy boundaries between fun and work.
Work smart and get ahead this semester. Find that perfect productive place.
Amber Soland - Get inspired
The best academic advice I can give is to find something worthwhile in each class you take. The classes that I loved the most, the ones that truly interested and inspired me, were always the ones I aced without a hitch. I remember taking math classes and introductory courses that I couldn’t stand, but I had to pull through if I wanted to keep my scholarship. To stay awake, I pushed the limits of my creativity and, specifically in math classes, tried to be better than whoever sat next to me out of sheer competitiveness. If I couldn’t be best in class, I wouldn’t be the worst.
Here is a second piece of advice: If you cannot find that worthwhile thing in any of your classes, if you are not jumping to ask and answer intriguing questions in at least one of them, it may be time to visit your adviser. You might need a change of pace or change in major.
Priya Jandu - Brain food the smart way
Meal prep if you can! It seems like a lot of work up front, but you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money. I ate a concerning amount of mac and cheese sophomore year because the last thing I wanted to do when I got home after being on campus for eight hours was cook. On weekends, I take a few hours to get groceries and make all my food, and then I’m good for the week. I’m saving a significant amount of money over time by not Postmates-ing dinner once or twice a week.
Plus, it’s not hard to find out what you like to cook and make; I check the Bon Appétit website frequently because they are constantly updating their website with new meal prep ideas, and they often have videos that show you how to make the recipes. Pinterest and Buzzfeed also have endless meal prep suggestions. I recommend finding five or six recipes you like and rotating them every week so you don’t get sick of eating the same thing every day (unless that’s what you prefer).
Amit Syal - Don’t spread yourself too thin
After becoming adjusted to college life, freshmen become too eager to get involved in every way possible and end up trying to do too much with too little time. My best advice would be to find a few, but not too many, clubs and extracurriculars that you are extremely passionate about and do those right. Whether it be a major-related, related to a lifelong hobby, or any random club, join a few groups that you can see yourself being in for the rest of college. Every semester, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona hosts a club fair on the UA Mall where you can find representatives from a myriad of different clubs to join. During this spring semester, the club fair usually falls around the end of January. Between classes, grab a few friends and stroll down the Mall so you can check out and sign up for some clubs that pique your interest.
Nicholas Trujillo - Get some rest
Being in college has taught me that sleep is an important currency. Your sleep schedule can determine whether you will be pulling your hair out or having a little less anxiety than usual. Finding the right sleep schedule for your lifestyle can be difficult, but strict planning will make it that much easier. First and foremost, have a consistent time that you find yourself in bed and make it a ritual. I brush my teeth, lather myself in the beautiful smell of cocoa butter lotion, set the fan on high and get under a heavy blanket. I also find myself using sleep as a bartering tool with myself if I want to do anything outside the house. Going downtown? Going to go workout? How much sleep will this cost me? I try to make everything I do worth the sleep I use, and it keeps me sane enough to get through the semester.
Mikayla Kaber - Balance your act
The best advice I can give for engaging in a successful semester is finding balance. Find time to focus on classes that you love while also giving yourself time to rest and do something that you enjoy. Spend time on hobbies and interests that go beyond the classroom. If you are able to dedicate time to yourself and do things that make you happy, you will thrive in any work you pursue.
Make sure there is a healthy balance in your life. I try to take time to focus on school work, but I also set aside days where I can hang out with my friends or just watch a movie that makes me laugh. For every mile you run, take a few moments to slow down and breathe, too.