“Hacks” for your best semester

By Kit Murray

murrayki@mnstate.edu

Ever since coming to college, I’ve been a sucker for “life hacks.” For example, tape a dryer sheet to the AC to freshen up the room. Or, rub beeswax on your shoes to make them waterproof – a great tip while studying abroad in England!

The semester is in full swing, the dependency on coffee has returned and  routine has finally come back into our lives. I’ve decided to share a few of my own, as well as a few others’, tips for getting by this semester in a way that is easy and achievable.

Stay organized. Seems simple, obvious, why even bring it up? The reason it is important could just be for ease of mind. As a person who is naturally a worry-wart, I’m always wondering if I’ve done everything I needed to before each lecture. Designate a part of a bedroom, living room or even part of one’s desk for university materials. That way, each thing has its own place. Organizing and making sure it’s ready for the next lecture can help keep one’s mind, as well as his or her desk, clear of clutter.

Find someone to confide in. Having friends in the Fargo-Moorhead area is beneficial. But having someone who goes to the same school, someone who is easy to talk to and someone who may have even taken the same class a year before could help shine light on the subject and provide useful information for future courses.

Another tip I’ve found useful is to get involved. Join the philosophy club, greek life or student government. These outlets help find new friends, as well as ways to network and distract from everyday stress. It can encourage us to pour our energy into something we’re passionate about and can be rewarding as well.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. I’m sure almost every professor I’ve had would tell you I’m the quietest student in the room. This is not okay in college. Getting over this throughout my three years here is the biggest accomplishment I can claim. Participate in class. Critique people’s work. Although it may be terrifying and unnerving at first, it can help encourage success in so many ways.

This also may lead to getting to know your professors. Talk to them in person, email them about assignments; use your best judgment and keep a good relationship with them. Spending five successful months with someone equates to upholding a positive relationship.

Be aware of your own equilibrium. Find the strengths and weaknesses not just as a student but as a person. College is the perfect time to work on personal development. Don’t let that opportunity stray away; embrace it, and find what works and what doesn’t.

Have a scheduled time to read books found outside of assigned school work. Make time to hang out at the CMU alone or with a few friends.

Overall, don’t be afraid to let loose. Don’t be afraid of anything. Try things that are scary and cover you with nervous sweat. If I’ve learned anything in college, it’s that doing something that scares the living crap out of you can be the most rewarding in the end.

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