A UniversityParent intern and sophomore at Baylor University, Catherine shares reflections on what the month of January is like on campus. We hope her essay will help you understand and support your own college student.
By Catherine Scott
Welcome to a new semester!
January brings students an opportunity for a fresh start and a clean slate. I remember a year ago, when I had to decide whether or not to approach the second semester of my freshman year the same way I’d approached the first. Reflecting on my study methods, friends, and lifestyle helped me focus on what was working well so I could cut out what wasn’t.
The way each student approaches January can determine how the rest of the year will go. Even though the weeks of break may seem too short, we need fully rekindled motivation in order to start the semester off right. The most dangerous thing to do during January is to look at it as an extension of fall semester. Freshman year, I had friends who failed some of the first tests in their spring classes because they had no energy left over after the previous semester’s finals, and they hadn’t put any work into their new classes. My biggest piece of advice for freshmen, or anyone heading into the second semester, is to give your classes a huge amount of effort right off the bat so you won’t have to play catch up later.
From a personal point of view, your student may not have talked about how hard the transition can be going back to school after several weeks spent at home or with family. If your son or daughter is an out-of-state student like I am, the mixed feelings may have started when they came home for break after spending an entire semester in a place that’s begun to feel like home away from home. The few short weeks of break are either not long enough to catch up with everyone from life before college or too long to spend away from new college friends. Either way, it’s hard to become completely settled during break knowing that weeks later we will be returning to college for several more months.
January is a month of newness and potential for students. It can be both intimidating and refreshing to start over, as we decide what to take and what to leave from last semester. The new term needs our full commitment!
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