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Jan 14 2016
by Heena Shah

10 Ways to Refocus this Semester

By Heena Shah - Jan 14 2016
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Break is over and it's time to refocus. Some of you have completed our first semester at university without a hitch... but for others, myself included, it's been a rough ride. Personal drama, difficult teachers, challenging courses -- it's been a blur of complication and near-failure. Nonetheless, we have all weathered the storm and made it to the other side. Congratulations! 

Here are some ways to refocus and recharge; to put you back on track to have a successful semester.

1. Have a morning routine

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Get out of bed at a set time every day to give you time to properly wake up before class. It'll give you enough time to get out of your PJs and into a cute outfit, study in case you wind up having a pop quiz, read a chapter in that book you meant to read last semester but never got around to it, or at the very least, give you enough time to eat a decent breakfast. We've heard it before, but all successful people have a morning routine. Waking up early can be a chore, but you'll notice a difference in your grades and the general quality of your day if you do...

2. Follow Thomas Jefferson's example: 

... Give about two [hours] every day to exercise; for health must not be sacrificed to learning. A strong body makes the mind strong.

 Not only does it provide clarity to the mind, but it also promotes a healthy diet, and forces you to manage your time. It's also the perfect way to catch up with old friends... and get in shape for beach season! 

3. Ask a hallmate or friend for lunch

redandblack.com
 

New friends are great! It's only your freshman year of college if you didn't establish much of a relationship with your hallmates because you were too busy finishing up a Netflix series like I was... well, there's still hope for the both of us. Reach out to an acquaintance or hallmate and try to get to know them better over a meal... you have to eat anyways, might as well have company.

4. But don't forget your old friends!

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Whether or not you were able to catch up with some dear friends or family over winter break, reaching out every so often is an easy way to maintain a relationship with those you care for. Referring back to any personal problems anyone has suffered through in college, sometimes ranting to someone who knows you, but is also isolated from whatever situation you've put yourself in can be a needed breath of fresh air. Even if they aren't in your daily lives anymore, your friends and family still care. Giving them a quick ring might make them feel like they still have a presence in your life.

5. Choose your weapon

Pablo Picasso once said...

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life"

A work overload, whether it's academia or any of your other commitments can wear you down. Whether you paint, doodle, write, dance, etc, picking back up your art of choice might be exactly what you need to get your creative juices flowing again. 

6. Take a Brain Break

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With university-sized commitments and responsibilities constantly weighing down, a brain break is just what the doctor ordered. Stimuli include, but are not limited to: texts from friends or s/o's, Netflix, and social media, all of which are accessible from your many electronic devices. Put away the laptop and cell phone and take a nap.

7. Take a nice long shower to wash your stress away

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Late nights spent studying can be draining. Sometimes taking a social hour or snack hour can be helpful to keep you focused, but so can a little "me time" in the shower. Even to some of us dorm rats enjoying the splendor of a communal bathroom, showers can be relaxing. Take break, relax, recharge, and get back to it.

8. Reorganize your wardrobe

The Container Store

This is not a gender specific option. Sort through some of the clothes you brought on campus and get a better idea of all the crap you brought. You don't need to be recycling the same outfits every week; you just might have brought more clothes than you realized.

9. Find your happy place

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Find a place around your campus that you can sit and work in isolation. It doesn't have to be the library or the back of a dining hall, just some place that you can be alone and gather your thoughts, without distraction, and slay.

10. Read

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It's time to get ahead, read something new, learn a new skill, read a biography of someone you admire, or a book recommended by a professor (current or otherwise). 

Lead Image Credit: Pic Jumbo

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Heena Shah - University of Virginia

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