9 tips to help you reset for the spring semester
After weeks of gifting presents, attending holiday parties, and seeing family and friends, the end of winter break is nearly here and a new semester is just around the corner. Here are a few tips and resources to help make the return to campus an easier one.
How to get back on track
For most of us, a college winter break means no schoolwork — endless time to just unwind and relax from a stressful end of the semester. But in doing so, the process of getting back into the groove of classes and assignments becomes all the more difficult come January. Here a few simple tips that can help you feel more prepared before the school year starts up again.
Come back early
One of the easiest ways to get back into the routine of school is by coming back to campus a few days before classes begin. Of course, no one wants to cut their winter break short. But by being back on campus with enough time before the first day of classes, you can get back in the groove of campus life and have an easier start to the semester. Take these few days to map out where your classes are, readjust your sleeping schedule, and begin routines that will benefit your mental and social well-being.
Maybe you were organized last semester, maybe you weren’t. Regardless, there are various practices you can take part in this semester to start and stay organized. A simple way to get started is by actively using a planner.
If you’re someone who likes to keep all of your school work on your laptop or mobile devices rather than using a physical planner, you can use online planners such as Notion or online calendars such as Google Calendar.
Once you have your chosen planner, look through your classes as they get added onto Canvas and start planning your schedule ahead of time. By adding quizzes, exams, and projects into your planner before your classes begin, you won’t feel as overwhelmed and instead feel a little more prepared.
How to have a better semester
Returning to campus can also be challenging after a disappointing previous semester. Whether it was roommate troubles, challenges making new friends, academic stress, or mental health struggles, the obstacles faced in the fall do not have to transfer to the spring. Stephanie Roberts, assistant director of marketing and communications for Hokie Wellness, offers these events and resources to help you start off the new semester on the right foot.
Create a plan with TimelyCare
High levels of stress are often an indicator of a difficult semester ahead. Intentionally developing healthy habits for the way you show up in your classes and beyond can tremendously impact the trajectory of a new semester.
TimelyCare, a virtual health service available 24/7 to students, allows you to schedule a virtual appointment with a health coach to work on goals that will enhance your health and well-being, from sleep habits and mindfulness to nutrition and exercise. The beginning of the new year is synonymous with resolutions, and no matter what your resolution might be this year, TimelyCare is great resource to get started.
Begin your financial wellness journey
If you found monetary issues contributing to your distressing semester, try one-on-one financial coaching with Hokie Wellness. By setting up an appointment with a financial wellness coach, you can freely discuss your financial goals and challenges while gaining insight on feasible practices that will allow you to have a better relationship with money.
Get out there
While you might not have found your community of friends last semester, attending Involvement Week can be a great way to meet new people at the beginning of the year. This event is the university’s annual week to raise awareness about being involved on campus, with various events throughout the week ranging from Mocktails and Moodboards to Restarting Your Involvement Journey.
“By participating in Involvement Week, students can explore ways to get involved, and our student organization members can circle back to why they are involved in organizations on campus and meet other involved students for potential collaborations and learning from best practices while also recruiting new members,” Morgen Snowadzky, interim associate director for student organizations and administration, said.
A public health campaign for mental health, #VTBetterTogether empowers all Hokies to become mental health advocates through accurate information and data, training and education, and resource awareness. This semester, the campaign is using its platform to focus on a specific mental health topic each month to better connect students, staff, and faculty. Maintaining your mental well-being and making new friendships and connections are not mutually exclusive. Details will be available at the #VTBetterTogether website.
Prioritize your mental health
While helpful faculty members are ready to listen and help out, it can be daunting to share mental health struggles with someone who might not be in your age group. That’s where FEELS comes in. Facilitating Effective Emotional Learning and Support, known as FEELS for short, is a mental health support space by students for students. This group is a safe space to connect with fellow Hokies who are navigating their mental health concerns and exploring how to maintain their emotional well-being.
Recovery Community support groups
Regardless of how well your semester went in the fall, the holidays can show to be a stressful time for many and coming back to school from a difficult holiday season can lead to an unsteady start of the semester. If you are a student in recovery or has a loved one in recovery, there are an assortment of recovery support groups provided by Hokie Wellness available throughout the semester. All meetings are available to join through Zoom as well.
Reach out to your residence hall’s embedded counselor
Committing to routine therapy and counseling appointments aren’t always necessary for everyone, but if you just need to talk a problem out with someone, take advantage of Residential Well-being’s embedded counseling. If you are a student living on campus, you can connect with an embedded counselor who correlates to your residential district to discuss your mental, emotional, or social well-being.
Written by Cyna Mirzai, a senior and an intern for Virginia Tech Communications and Marketing