My Top Semester Survival Tips

Whether you’re a freshman blinking into the sun that is your first year at university or you’re Super Senior-ing it up like me, we all need a little help getting back into the swing of student life. I personally have been struggling a tad through the beginning of this semester to really make the shift, and after awhile that really starts to stress you out. I decided that maybe writing a post about my tips for starting strong and setting yourself up for a good semester would remind me that I totally know how to do this, and would inspire me to get my shit together. So, from a super senior to you, here are some strategies I’ve put together over the last 4 years to help survive the semester with your sanity in tact!

Remember that Class is Just a Part of Your Life

I think a lot of students, myself included, tend to let school completely take over our lives during the semester. And frankly it is kind of hard not to; it is a pretty major time sucker. But this semester I am going to do the very best that I can to remember that school is just part of my life. Classes are just part of what I spend every day doing. It doesn’t mean I have to give up everything else I enjoy doing for 4 months (which, honestly, has been my usual strategy; yikes!) Going to class is part of every day, but it isn’t your whole day.

Schedule Time for Not School

Speaking of those other things you enjoy doing, you should make a point to schedule time to spend doing some of those things. I know homework is a thing and will probably take up a lot of time- believe me, I know- but you should still make it a priority to find time to do the things you love. Read for a half-hour before bed, play a game or two of Splatoon before you head to that 10am, watch the new Markiplier videos while you eat dinner, whatever it is that makes you happy and helps you relax, make it fit somewhere. You might not be able to do everything every day, but a little here and there is better than nothing, and will really help your mental health in the long run.

Buy Some Super Cute School Supplies

There is something about buying new school supplies at the beginning of the semester that feels so good. Someone on Tumblr described it as the illusion of productivity, which is probably fairly accurate. But let’s be real, if you have a super adorable planner aren’t you more likely to be happy about having something to write in it? Personally I am slowly but surely acquiring the entire collection. All of their stuff just really speaks to me. AND THE PLANNER CAME WITH STICKERS, HELLO.


Read for Class in the Bath

This probably won’t appeal to everyone, but it is something I 1000% intend on trying out this semester. Buy some Epsom salts, light a fun candle, put some music on in the background, and charge through that 30 page article on the shift in courtship customs in twentieth century America (n0? just me?) This way I can read for class and relax a bit all at the same time. Whether or not this becomes a permanent weekend plan depends on whether or not I fall asleep the first time, which might very well happen.

Location, Location, Location

It is unavoidable that you will have to spend at least some time doing school work outside of class. That is an uncontrollable factor. What you can control, however, is where you spend all that homework time. If you spend 3-4 hours lying on your couch every day doing homework you will go mad. This is a super senior speaking from experience: don’t do it. Don’t mix productive and relaxing spaces. It makes you less productive and the spaces less relaxing. Instead, try to find a few places that inspire your productivity. I am fortunate to have a gorgeous library on my campus, but there are other options if your library happens to resemble a state prison like my campus’ old one did. Find a coffee shop downtown with wifi. Decorate the corner of your room that your desk is in so it is a place you want to work. Go to a local Barnes and Noble and work in their cafe. Try to find a few places so you can alternate if you’re not feeling one one day. It will make all the difference, I promise.

I hope some of my hard learned tips will be of use to you. If it is your first year in college I sincerely wish you the best of luck. You can totally do this; it is not as scary as you think! And to all my returners, here’s hoping that the students inside us come out of hibernation soon! If you have any tips for going back to school and/or surviving the semester please leave them in the comments!


  • Sheila Garcia

    The hardest part for me so far has been having my classes online. I’m completing a (mostly) online MLIS and having been in a traditional classroom setting until now, it can get difficult to say, “Alright, time to watch those lectures now” without actually being in the classroom. Also, being out of school for a year has made it so that I’m really hesitant to let go of all the time-consuming yet not all that important activities I have done to pass the time (like watch Fairy Tail or check out 5 books that I’m supposed to read in 3 weeks…). It feels really different. Honestly what I have found works for me is to constantly keep in mind that I’m paying for grad school out of my freakin’ pocket. Which means that I better get my lazy self to learning something…>.<

    • Katie Conigliaro

      Eeesh ya online classes and I have never been friends. I completely avoided them for my entire undergrad haha. And I totally know what you mean about not wanting to let go of everything else. This semester still doesn’t feel completely real to me, so my Splatoon marathons have not yet been curbed, haha.

      So so so much good luck with your new program girl! I’m so excited for you (:

  • Brilliant tips! I let school take over my life too much as well. It’s so hard not to. I make it a big thing to not work in my bed and work at my desk or in the library. I’m trying to get some more extra curricular going to stop myself stressing – hopefully it’ll work!

    Rachael at

    • Katie Conigliaro

      Thank you! And it is so hard not to. I’m really the pot calling the kettle black in that tip, to be honest. But I am really, really making it a priority this year to keep reminding myself that it is not my entire life. Good luck with everything this semester!

  • Fab tips, I am working on actually scheduling in the fun things to do and other bits like exercise. I feel I need a better routine this uni year so I don’t end up just repeating a pattern of eat, sleep, study, repeat.

    amber love

    • Katie Conigliaro

      Scheduling you time is so, so important. And when it is scheduled into your week you don’t feel guilty like you should be working on something else instead.

      I definitely ended up in the patter the last few semesters. I’m really hoping to avoid it this year! After 5 years, maybe just maybe I’ve figured this college thing out. A little. Maybe. haha.