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Advice for Getting Through the New Semester

Whether you are a transfer student, or you were here in September, a new semester brings another chance to start over. As first year students, we now have a few months of college experience under our belts. We are still finding our places in a new environment, meeting
people from wildly different backgrounds, and becoming involved in the Lesley community. What I’ve learned is that in order to have another successful semester, it is crucial that we continue to learn to balance school commitments with having fun and taking care of ourselves.  Here are some ideas to consider:

Daily Acts of Self-Care

We know that we should be taking steps to improve our well-being each and every day. A common complaint is that it is difficult to squeeze self-care time into an already-busy schedule.  However, this year, taking care of ourselves should be made a priority. Giving yourself even just
ten minutes to relax and collect your thoughts can change your whole outlook on your day and improve your mood. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; sometimes, just a warm shower or a hot cup of tea does the trick when you’re running low on time. Walk away from your homework for an hour to watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. Sometimes, getting caught up in a show’s storyline is the best way to decompress and distract yourself from stress.  If you feel like exercising your mind and body, yoga or meditation are both excellent for de-stressing and can be done easily within the space of a dorm room. You could also walk to class in the fresh air instead of taking the shuttle. All of these little things add up and contribute to a more relaxed, positive outlook over time.

It’s Okay to Ask For Help

Being in college is an exercise in learning to advocate for yourself and your own needs. For many of us, this is the first time in our lives where we have been asked to step up and take full accountability for our actions. Our professors can be understanding, but they also expect
greatness; they aren’t as forgiving of incomplete or rushed assignments as our high school teachers may have been. However, if life outside of the classroom becomes too overwhelming, your professors won’t know unless you speak to them about it. If there are extenuating
circumstances that have prevented you from completing an assignment to the best of your ability, talk to them outside of class. They’re only human, too; they understand that we have other obligations beyond their class. They may be willing to negotiate a new deadline or allow
you to redo the assignment. Your mental well-being needs to come first, before any due date or deadline. If the course in general is proving to be too much for you, consider peer or online tutoring services offered by the Center for Academic Achievement. Admitting that you need
additional assistance is difficult. However, your peers and professors are more than willing to lend a hand, and you will benefit from their one-on-one attention.

Be open-minded

Know that you don’t know all there is to know. Sit down with your professors and learn from them. Listen to what your classmates have to say and respect their thoughts, even if you disagree with them. Ask questions and be willing to make a mistake. Join an on-campus club or
organization, even if it seems like a step outside of your comfort zone. Say hello to someone new and start a conversation. Trying new things, and being open to new possibilities, is essential to learning more about yourself as a person.

Join something

And one other thing: when you can, make time for some activities.  Studying is important, and so is getting good grades.  But there are a lot of interesting clubs on campus; some are about the arts, or about crafting, or athletics, or politics… and there are many opportunities to do volunteer work. Joining a club will take your mind off the stress of studying, and it will introduce you to new people who share some of your interests. And getting involved can help to make your college experience more enjoyable.  Welcome back, and have a great semester!

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