How To Survive The New Semester

Tips & tricks to help you succeed


Demetria Slyt, Opinion Editor

Welcome back students and staff! We have officially cleared our first week back into the spring semester.  

As a senior, and fellow student myself, I have survived my fair share of back-breaking semesters. In my opinion, spring semesters are always a doozy. Along the way I have picked up many valuable tips and tricks that have aided in my success over these last few years. The following is a series of advice that may be of service to all of us as we move further into the semester. These are great for first time students, long time veterans of academia, but many of these are just general rules of thumb for a successful semester. 

  1. Be attentive 

Being attentive sounds relatively easy enough. But, it means showing up to all of your classes, and being present. When you miss classes you may be missing out on important information or lectures that will help you better understand your course material. Things outside of your control may come up, like illness, financial, or familial situations. Of course your well-being as a student and as an individual is one of the universities biggest concerns. Being 100% attentive and present in every class, in reality, is tougher than it seems. 

  1. Be active 

This may involve taking detailed and poignant notes, if applicable. Or it may involve participating in class discussions, presentations, group work, and beyond. It may simply mean socializing and making connections with your fellow classmates. This applies differently to everyone and every major. For example, a big aspect of being active as an art major involves working on projects several hours outside of class time because that is how you may create well rounded work.  

  1. Set your own deadlines 

This falls into developing better time management skills and maybe working ahead of the curve. The best thing you can do is keep up to date on assignments and try not to save things for the night before an assignment is due. You might be able to do this by getting organized, as well as constructing a personalized schedule that works for both you and your course requirements. Keeping a planner of important dates and sometimes revisiting the class syllabus might be another sure fire way to keep on top of things.  


Communication is one of the biggest keys to success. Never be afraid to ask questions or ask for assistance. Double check or triple check, you are not being annoying by asking for clarification. Your professors and advisors are there to help you along the way to the best of their ability. Again, you may also find success in communicating and working with your peers, or those who have taken the course before. This can be said for topics that you may be struggling with or could involve getting an outside opinion on your work. 

  1. Don’t overdo it 

When starting a new semester and choosing your courses, it is important to know how much you can handle. Do not take more credits than you know you can cope with. Pace yourself and remember that it is okay to take a break or slow down a little. Everyone can carry different loads of work or responsibilities. That does not mean they are lesser or greater than anyone else. Do what you can, and push yourself if you believe you are capable of more. This has to do with your mental health as well. 

  1. Make time for yourself 

If your mental health is suffering and you are coping with burnout, how can you succeed? By far one of the most important things to focus on is your own well-being and mental health. Set up reasonable outlets for relaxation, stress relief or mindfulness. Making time for yourself involves not only your mental and emotional well-being, but your physical health as well. This includes exercising regularly, eating healthy and making a better sleep schedule. As I have mentioned before, there are also various resources campus has to offer in regards to mental health and wellness. This includes the UND Counseling Center which offers a variety of services from individual sessions to group settings, as well as the Wellness Center where you can stay fit while staying mindful. 


Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].