Your guide to a great semester


Graphic by Margo Ogloelina.

Meghan Bogardus

It’s the beginning of a new year, and everyone is making a resolution to change his or her ways. Like the new year, a new semester is another chance to get things right, whether it be academically, financially or even socially.

“I noticed that I start out every semester thinking it is going to be the best one yet, and I’m going to try harder than I ever have before,” said junior English major Ashley Slaybaugh. “It usually works out for about two weeks.”

Want to make that best semester ever actually happen? We do too, and we’ve got some expert advice to help.

1. How to Study

For Katie Phillips, a junior early childhood education major, the best semester ever would include finally achieving a 4.0 GPA. Whether you’re pursuing straight A’s or you just want a B in Calculus, Oscar Ramos, the program director of the Academic Success Center, has some tips for academic success.


Students should repeatedly review what they have learned in small chunks, taking about five to 10 minutes. They are more likely to remember the information this way than if they spend hours trying to study everything at once.

Find an approach that works for you.

“We like to say, ‘One size does not fit all,’” Ramos said. All students are different kinds of learners. Figuring out how to study in a way that works is important to success.

Teach someone else what you are learning.

“The most effective learners are teaching others what they are learning,” Ramos said. Sit down and talk through a lesson with a friend.

Copy someone else

And we don’t mean cheating. Find another student who is successful and model his or her behavior and study habits will lead to similar results.

Study with a friend

Having a study buddy makes studying more fun and less boring, which means it is more likely to get done.

Seek out help

If a student starts to fall behind, it is best to get help as soon as possible. Whether that means stopping by the Academic Success Center for tutoring or asking a professor or something else.

“Don’t be afraid to ask another student in class who is doing well to help you,” Ramos said.

2. How to Have Success Without the Stress

Stress in college is as present as caffeine. You can’t really have a successful semester without it, so while it is a little difficult to get around, it is possible to limit it as much as possible.

Both Slaybaugh and Phillips said when they are feeling stressed they take a nap to get their minds off of it.

Rachel Hope, a senior intervention specialist major who is a resident assistant on campus, said whenever she was stressed during finals week she would just leave her room and go find someone to talk to for a break.

“I’d keep it limited so I wouldn’t get too distracted,” she said.

This semester Hope said she’s taking a Zumba class to relieve some of the stress.

The Office of Health Promotion suggests the following stress relievers:

-Do one thing at a time.
-Watch a good movie.
-Go for a walk or swimming.

3. How to Keep Your Future In Mind

Whether you are a freshman or a senior, it is always important to keep your future career in mind. Ryan McNaughton, a career counselor at Career Services Center, said generally students don’t start looking for internships until junior year, so the first two years are important for “information gathering.”

This can include networking with family, friends and people around campus or just sitting down and asking yourself if your major is what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Once in their junior year, McNaughton said students begin looking for internships as soon as possible. He said it is often easy to think at the beginning of the semester that there is still plenty of time, but students are always “on the clock” and shouldn’t put off looking.

“The early bird gets the worm, and the early bird gets the internship,” he said.

McNaughton suggested that students utilize the Career Services Center as much as possible because it gives them an opportunity to practice and polish before a job interview. He recommended that students get their resumes looked at and maybe do some mock interviews.

In addition to their everyday services, the Career Services Center will also hold a job and internship fair April 3. McNaughton said their website has a running list of employers attending, and it is a good idea to do research before attending the fair to really shine.

“Be as proactive as possible,” McNaughton said. “Keep your future in mind because it will be here before you know it.”

4. How to Not Spend All Your Money Within the First Month

“The most important thing is to figure out what sources of income you have in the semester and how to utilize them,” said finance professor Ron Stolle.

Stolle said that students have a very limited amount of money during the semester and it is important for them to track their spending and plan it or they will likely run out of money.

“I’m not very good at budgeting my money, really,” Phillips said. “By the end of the semester I’m usually strapped for cash.”

Stolle recommended that students sit down and write out everything they purchase that they may or may not need.

“It is the little things that add up,” he said.

An example was instead of spending more than $4 for a macchiato at Starbucks, get coffee for $1 at McDonald’s.

Hope said keeping a spending journal was something she started last semester when she realized she had been going to Starbucks as often as four times a week. Since she started the journal she’s been cutting down on her spending at places she doesn’t really need to go to.

5. How to Have Fun and Stick to Your Budget

After all, it couldn’t really be called the best semester ever without throwing in a little fun, by either going out or staying in.

Slaybaugh said she can always have fun without spending a lot of money.

“It’s always fun to just stay home and play drinking games with friends once in a while,” she said.

Hope suggested a relaxing movie night with friends and a cheap bottle of wine.

If going out is more your style, plenty of places in Kent offer deals for a good time.

-Water Street Tavern has a $2 happy hour until 9 p.m. Also, if your schedule gives you some wiggle room to go out during the week, Ladies Night is every Tuesday with discounted drinks.
-Applebee’s has a late night happy hour with half-price appetizers and discounted burgers from 9 p.m. to close on weekdays and 10 p.m. to close on weekends.
-Kent Lanes has a BOGO special Sunday and Monday night and a variety of other discount coupons on its website,
-Kent Plaza Theatres has Mighty Movie Mondays with admission for only $5.

Contact Meghan Bogardus at [email protected].