Bobby Gordon

We’ve all been there. It’s the first week of school, and everyone is reconnecting after being gone over the summer break, or new students are trying to make new friends within a new community. Whether you’re considering a new student organization, fraternity/sorority recruitment, a sports team, or even just wanting to make new friends, here are some tips to kick off your semester in a positive way:

1. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
The first few weeks of school will fly by, and you’ll be at mid-terms soon enough. There’s no need to feel the pressure to try to keep up with friends, go out almost every night of the week, and try and catch up with everyone you missed over summer break while drinking too much alcohol. Pace yourself, take your time and be strategic about which events you may or may not choose to drink.

2. The first week of school is the most important.
You may not realize it, but the habits and thoughts you form during the first week of school will stick with you throughout the entire semester. Don’t allow alcohol to distract you from understanding the syllabus, setting a calendar or major deadlines for assignments and tests for the whole semester, or from keenly listening to instructions from your professors. Many faculty members report that students often overlook the syllabus, miss deadlines and end up earning lower grades because they either ignore or don’t pay attention to key instructions provided in the first few classes and the syllabus.

3. Your health is as important as your grades.
Many students find themselves in the student health center within the first few weeks of classes, feeling run down or afflicted with whatever is going around. Keep your immunity up by thoughtfully considering how alcohol consumption lowers your immunity and exposes you to more illnesses, viruses, and bacteria. A strong immune system at the beginning of the semester will help you have better attendance, which can lead to better grades.

4. Your personal time is valuable.
Try not to overcommit; whether it be through leadership positions, volunteering, working, and/or social time. Consider kicking off the semester with a balanced schedule that provides personal time for you to sleep, recover, and enjoy the longevity of the semester in its entirety. That balance also includes not overindulging in alcohol, giving you more time to be social and focus on school, resulting in less time spent recovering from a hangover.

5. Do coursework early.
No, seriously. Make time to do your school work early. Reading chapters ahead or doing assignments or exercises at the beginning of the semester can help not only to save you time as the semester goes on but can provide you with a stronger foundation for learning the topics presented. You may find yourself scoring higher on tests and quizzes by not allowing alcohol to interfere with your school work and preparing for classes early in the semester. Intentionally set aside time for working ahead where you can, so that when mid-terms, finals and other crunch times arise, you’ll have time to devote to them – maybe with time to spare!


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