Academics
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Lola Lafia / Columbia Daily Spectator

Shopping period is halfway over, which means our schedules are shaping up for the semester and homework is pouring in. After a whole month of sleeping in, probably not going to the gym, definitely binge-watching Netflix, and eating all the sugar cookies at your grandma’s holiday party, convincing yourself to head to Butler and get into a daily routine can be pretty hard. But never fear, Spectrum is here with tips on how to combat the lethargy you’re feeling in this cold, harsh weather and get back in the study zone.

1.Use a calendar

The first step to getting organized is to mark down all of your academic and social commitments, as well as deadlines, on a calendar. Go through your syllabi and highlight all the important due dates of your assignments. Then, look at your extracurricular schedule and block out times you have meetings. Finally, review your work schedule to ensure there are no conflicts between your work, social, and academic commitments. Once you have all these details down in one place, stare at your calendar and envision what your semester is going to look like. This should help you create a daily routine and mentally prepare for the upcoming semester.

2. Get school supplies

Whether you prefer to take notes on your laptop or in a notebook, one thing is clear: You need the right supplies to get you through the semester. Getting pens, notebooks, laptop cases, books, and stationery is a tried and tested way to feel more motivated for the next semester. From colorful sticky notes to remind you about upcoming paper deadlines, to multi-colored gel pens for those detailed notes, to highlighters so you can tackle those dense readings, there is nothing that new stationary can’t solve. Looking at those shiny new Muji pens has got to make you excited to write, right?

3. Do your readingWhether it’s an abstract of a research paper or the preface of a book, reading—even a little—while on a subway or in line at Trader Joe’s will get you thinking about Marx or Foucault or Schrödinger's cat, and whet your appetite. Go through your syllabi. Read the topic sentence of every paragraph. Recall any reading you did the previous semester by the same writer (Foucault is a recurring guy), and utilize those notes as best you can. It can be hard to get it all done every week, but you’ll feel more prepared and more confident in class.

4. Rejuvenate

Sleeping at 3 a.m. and waking up at 12 p.m. is so 2018. If you want to have a productive study session, the first thing you have to do is get a solid eight hours of sleep and have a proper schedule for meals. Taking care of your body by getting rest and eating healthy foods will guarantee a more productive semester. Remember to take time for yourself when you can, especially during the weekend, so that you’re refreshed and motivated to face the week. Say no to all-nighters!

5. Sit in the library

To get back in the study zone, it can be helpful to actually BE in a study zone. Even if you’re sitting at Butler watching Netflix, being in a serious, academic environment is better than nothing. Take a good look at all those diligent students sitting in the library at 12 a.m… and maybe you’ll be inspired to crack open your new textbook too.

6. Find a new study spot

You’d be surprised at how many cute study spots are on campus. If you’re not ready for the intensity of a library, try a café! If you’re tired of Joe’s, there are places off campus as well. Find your space! The best way to get be productive is to find a spot in which you feel comfortable and motivated to work.

Staff Writer Naina Lavakare can be contacted at naina.lavakare@columbiaspectator.com. Read more on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Academics Spring Barnard Columbia
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