5 Ways to Make the Most of This School Year - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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College Preparation
August 20, 2018

5 Ways to Make the Most of This School Year

Every new school year represents a new beginning. The slate is clean; no matter what happened in the past, you have the potential to make something of yourself now. Follow these simple steps to make the most of this opportunity:

Learn Lessons from the Past, But Don't Live There

Where did you fall short last year? Perhaps you didn't study enough — or maybe you studied too much and didn't get enough sleep. Maybe you never worked up the nerve to talk to your professor. Several months later, these mistakes still make you cringe.

We all get discouraged by failure but ruminating rarely helps, if ever. Instead of dwelling on past errors, think of them as learning opportunities. How can you change problematic habits this year? Journal about your intentions for the new school year and how lessons from the past can give you a head start.

Adopt Healthy Habits in Advance

It's never easy to give up junk food or late-night Netflix binges, but these behaviors will be a lot more difficult to discard when you're mired in schoolwork. Take this opportunity to build healthy habits.

Begin your switch to a healthier lifestyle by transitioning to an earlier bedtime. It's easier to establish healthy habits when you get enough sleep; deprivation will lead to snacking, less exercise and a whole host of other issues. Keep digital devices away from your bedside. Use an old school alarm — and charge your device in another room. Experiment to determine which bedtime routine best relaxes you after a jam-packed day.

Once you've fixed your sleeping habits, take a close look at your diet. How can you incorporate more fruits and vegetables on a college student budget? You might be surprised by the range of healthy options available in your campus dining hall; determine now what you can do later to ensure you choose the healthiest entrees. As the first day approaches, load up on healthy snacks that you actually enjoy and will be inclined to eat when the munchies inevitably strike.

Exercise can be easy to neglect when you're busy studying for the next big exam. It's easier, however, to maintain an active lifestyle than to build one in the first place — so start now. Hit the gym, play pickup basketball or walk the dog. You'll feel better if you move your body on the regular.

Don't neglect your mental health. If you're struggling with depression or anxiety, address these issues now, while you don't have a packed school schedule in the way. Chat with a therapist or meet with a support group. Integrate prayer into your daily routine. The steps you can take now can ensure that you enter the new school year with a positive mindset.

Ditch the Distractions

From video streaming to social media, it's tough to focus on studying when you're constantly surrounded by distractions. Now is the perfect time to experiment with new methods for maintaining your focus. Install extensions such as StayFocusd to kick you off Instagram or YouTube when necessary.

Digital distractions will follow you nearly everywhere, but some environments also include a myriad of other roadblocks to effective studying. Scope out places that boost your productivity.

Develop an Academic Mindset

You don't necessarily need to crack open the textbooks just yet, but you should make an effort to learn whenever possible. This could mean reading a nonfiction book, visiting a local museum, listening to educational podcasts or enrolling in an inexpensive online course.

Remember, learning isn't limited to the classroom — valuable lessons exist in every walk of life. Make a point of actually paying attention to these lessons and reflecting on them to ensure that you continue growing on both a personal and academic level. Your work away from school will be well-rewarded, as you'll find it easier to transition to traditional academia. What's more, you may draw valuable connections between what you learned during the summer and what you learn in the classroom.

Set Clear Goals for This Year

What do you want to accomplish in and out of the classroom this year? Academic goals are valuable, of course, but your aims can also extend to your social life or personal health. Maybe you're determined to land a paid internship. Perhaps you'd like to meet new friends. Outline at least two or three goals, along with specific steps you can take to make them a reality. Set your goals in writing and display them somewhere prominent — regular reminders will help you stay on track.

It's never too late to turn things around. Whether you've excelled academically or struggled in the past, there are always aspects of the college experience you can improve. Keep an open mind as you enter what could be your best school year yet!

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your education goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.