Setting Goals for the New Semester
Finals week is finally over! A summer break full of sun and free of assignments lies ahead. There’s no looking back now! Except, with pre-enrollment already in motion, even on break, you should be prepping for the future. You’ll have plenty of time to decide which swimsuit to wear to the pool later. What you should be asking after finals is this: what can I do to make next semester better?
While I’m excited about summer, I’m also looking forward to my fall classes. The beginning of a new semester is like the beginning of a new year. It’s a fresh start, full of exciting possibilities! To get into the spirit of it, I’m challenging myself to be a better student. I’ve devised a list of new semester resolutions. Unlike New Year’s resolutions, however, these I’m going to keep!
It sounds stressful. Starting over with all-new classes is already a challenge. However, I know having goals to focus on will help keep me motivated. It also assures I make the most of my education. Even if I don’t fulfill every goal on this list, I’ll have improved myself. As the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” This fall, I’m shooting for the moon, and you should too.
Whether it’s your first semester or your last, I hope sharing some of my semester goals will inspire you to pick a few for yourself and create your new semester resolutions!
Start Early, Finish Early
I turned a final paper in at 11:56 at night. I worked past midnight on several graphic design projects during the semester. This left no room for touch-ups or final revisions. While I could blame a heavy workload, my real problem was time management.
Next semester, I’m getting to work right away on my assignments. For large projects, I plan on breaking the tasks down into daily steps. This way, I work on them consistently during the time I am given. My goal is to have everything done at least one day early.
If I were to genuinely set aside time to work on homework each day (during the time I usually spend watching YouTube, for example), I’d realize how much time I waste before actually getting to work. I aim to set aside a couple of hours every day, outside of work and classes, purely to focus on homework. Working on it in smaller chunks over a longer course of time, I’ll avoid procrastinating and having to pull an all-nighter the day before it’s due. When it comes to homework, the early bird gets the worm, and slow and steady wins the race!
Prepare for the Future
Prepping for the next semester isn’t enough. I want to get ahead of the game. This semester, I’m going to start taking advantage of Fort Hays State’s career services. They’re always hosting events, from job fairs to mock interviews and resume workshops. It’s a great place to start when looking or planning for your future career.
My goal is to update my resume and put together a portfolio of my work. This way, I’ll be prepared for potential internship opportunities. I’ve also started following graphic design opportunities online and researching credentials. While graduation is still a ways away, it doesn’t hurt to know what’s out there. It’s never too early to plan ahead!
Focus on Learning, Not Just Grades
Juggling several classes at once, they can all start to blend. An essay’s due next week. Two assignments are due by Thursday. If you become focused on simply getting the work done, you can miss out on what you’re supposed to be learning. Even if a class isn’t relevant to your major, you should understand why you’re expected to take it.
I’m guilty of cramming information for assignments and tests and then brain dumping it all after. We’ve all done it, where we were supposed to read an 80-page chapter and instead skimmed the headings and called it good. While it has worked in the past, it also left me feeling disappointed in myself. Sure, I got an A in the class, how much of the subject did I retain?
I plan to take better notes and pay more attention during lectures. I’ll read the textbook and Google that weird word I’m unfamiliar with. I want to get the most out of my classes, even if it means spending more time on each assignment. For my graphic design classes, I want to start researching on my own and developing new skills to use in my projects. By the end of the semester, I want to have new knowledge and skills to show off rather than a just bunch of graded papers. After all, the purpose of college is to learn, not just pass classes.
Take Advantage of Being on Campus
As I step closer and closer towards graduation, I worry more that I’m taking my time in college for granted. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, having all these resources and possibilities available to me. I should make the most of it before it’s over. Since I live off-campus, I tend to drive home right after classes and miss out on all of the benefits of being on campus.
It would be better if I worked on homework in the graphics lab or the library. For instance, I would have access to the school’s technology. Instead of working alone, I could ask friends and my professors for advice, keeping on track and turning in better results. Staying after class, you also start to form bonds with the people around you. I would have missed out on some crazy memories if I hadn’t stayed in the graphics lab, working late with my classmates.
Besides homework, there are other reasons to stay on campus. The school is constantly hosting fun events and activities. There is also an assortment of clubs and organizations to join. These are great ways to meet new friends and try new things. My goal for next semester is to be more involved on campus and adventure outside of my shell. I might even try out that Italian restaurant in the Union!
Fast food is an easy lunch solution when rushing between classes, and in Hays, there are plenty of options. However, I’m cracking down on my Taco Bell consumption.
Part of the reason is that it’s unhealthy, but it’s also expensive. Instead, I plan on packing a lunch that I’ve prepped at home. With lunch already prepared, I won’t be tempted to make a Wendy’s run, or skip lunch entirely. While it’s not as convenient, I’m sure my stomach and my bank account will thank me later.
Make Time for Me
While most of my resolutions are to improve my work-ethic, this goal is simply to relax. Just because I’m a college student doesn’t mean my whole life revolves around classwork. Last semester, I missed out on time with friends and family because I was too stressed about homework. Grades aren’t everything, especially if they’re getting in the way of living and mental health.
Hopefully, better managing my time and taking advantage of helpful opportunities will reduce the amount of stress this semester. I’m going to do my best, but I’m not striving for perfection. Part of the reason I made this list was to have clear goals to aspire towards. As long as I’m attempting to reach them, I’m succeeding.
I will reward each milestone. For example, a movie night after finals. While I’m dedicating a couple hours to homework, as soon as that time is up, I’m done with school for the day. This leaves me the evening to indulge in a hobby or hang out with friends. In the end, the semester is as stressful as you make it. Make it productive, not destructive, by doing your best and embracing what you’re capable of.
I hope you’re feeling as inspired as me for the new semester! For now, make the most of your break, and see you in school!
Mild-mannered student by day, writer by night... but typically by day, I’m Bailey Werner, current junior and graphic design major at Fort Hays State University. With a passion for storytelling that stemmed from 3rd grade writing hour, I’ve been crafting worlds and characters as a hobby for over a decade. Now, as a part-time content creator for the school, I’m living out my dream of writing professionally. If I’m not in my room reading, gaming, or making art, you can find me at the lake. I strongly believe in the power of storytelling, and I’ll continue to use my writing skills after graduation, in my work as a graphic designer.