New Semester, New Me: Tips for a Successful Semester


Rissa Liu

Start building a successful semester with some tips from S&S.

Angela Hou, Staff Writer

With the start of the second semester, students are looking forward to a fresh start to improve their academic performance and achieve their goals outside of school. Here are some good habits to start building a successful semester.

With habits, it is often better to start small rather than take a huge step at once. A realistic habit to start is finding an effective study plan that works for you. Even though this might seem obvious, many students make the mistake of thinking that everybody studies the same way. People fail to realize that different people have different levels of knowledge on a given subject.

“One of the many study tips that I have to give is [creating] a schedule,” senior Justin Jeon said. “Whether it’s writing things down in a planner or organizing different tasks by urgency, staying organized and having a schedule that works for you would make an impact.”

Maintaining a habit of sticking to a study schedule not only helps you keep track of what you’re spending your time on but also helps you study for exams in advance. At the end of the day, you’ll be surprised at how much you have accomplished in a period. 

“From my first semester at UHS, I would definitely try to study smarter and not harder for the second semester,” freshman Ryan Jin said. “Memorizing key concepts for each individual class is also crucial to succeed.” 

Another habit to start building this semester is getting enough sleep daily. During particularly stressful times such as finals week, it can seem impossible to get at least eight hours of sleep; however, you might not absorb as much information as you think by staying up a few hours more. Studies have shown that sleeping early enhances long-term and short-term memory and strengthens the immune system. 

Speaking of staying up to study, one can’t avoid the topic of procrastination! Yes, it’s tempting to procrastinate on that paper when it’s not due at midnight tonight, but imagine the sense of relief after finishing it a day early. Cramming is not pleasant either, and even though it’s unavoidable in some cases, a fresh start in the new semester gives you the chance to reset and let that bad habit go. 

Outside of academics, getting involved in any physical activity is a great way to kick off not only the new school semester but also the new year. One of the most basic foundations of doing well academically is having mental and physical wellness. 

Sophomore Merry Chai expressed her resolution to improve both her physical well-being and personal hobbies for the new semester.   

“I hope to balance school work with a healthy social life and improve my writing skills,” Chai said. “I am already on a two-week streak of spending more than five hours of my day outside. Not only does it help me de-stress, but it also clears my mind. My ultimate goal is to become more disciplined in completing my work and improving my time management skills so that I can be more productive.”

Mental health is equally important. Having a growth mindset and maintaining a positive attitude when tackling your school work can have a tremendous impact on your productivity. This will help improve your self-esteem and ability to receive fair criticism. 

Whatever goal you have in mind for the semester, it is important to be consistent. Finding a motivating factor can help you achieve your goals and plans. Motivation can come from a future trip in the summer or simply surrounding yourself with positive people. 

Freshman Sodongoo Sodtuya explains how she plans to stay motivated throughout the rest of the year. 

“For the semester and new year, I tried to create short and mid-term goals for myself,” Sodtuya said. “I also try to put out some time to make my daily goals at the start of each day. To keep myself motivated, I like to keep my room tidy, manage my time effectively, and by reading motivation[al] books.”

Lastly, believing in yourself will fuel you to achieve your goals. While it is easier to mourn over your mistakes from the first semester, getting ready to make the second semester a blast would be a wise decision to make.