Tips for a stellar second semester instead of just surviving it


Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz

Abbott Hall is seen Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, on the university’s Carbondale campus. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Jeremy Brown, Staff reporter

Spring semester can be a complete disaster for those who’ve gotten too lax over winter break. Grades drop. Couples break up. Roommates don’t clean up. 

However, it doesn’t have to be a harder semester. For those dreading the coming weeks, this guide will help you survive to see summer’s light. 

Resident Assistants are a reliable source of help for those living in the dorms — you can even ask them for money. They’ll say no, but it’s still your right to ask.


Joshua Chavez, is a 21-year-old senior at the university studying Criminology and Criminal Justice from Rockford.

As an RA in Warren Hall for three years, he said he believes spring semester goes at a much different pace than the fall semester.

“Spring semester has a lot of long periods,” Chavez said. “We really only have one real break, with spring break.”

Fall semester graces us with more frequent and shorter breaks including Labor Day, fall break and Thanksgiving break.

Chavez said, “Spring semester tends to just fly by. People will get caught off-guard more often.”

This comes from the overconfidence that carries over from completing one semester, Chavez said. Since students have done this before, they think they can breeze through it.

What many people don’t think about is their general classes are out of the way and now it’s time for more challenging major-specific classes.


“Last year I finished my basic core for my major, but then I had to complete my 400 level courses,” Chavez said. “I thought to myself ‘Oh, this won’t be much different,’ but they hit me like a truck.”

It’s important to know when to destress from classes and learn how to balance your time despite the hectic mess during a typical semester. 

“Have a place where you can just sit, be alone,” Chavez said. “At least once a week, you should give yourself five minutes. Turn off your phone, turn off everything, and just sit. Nowadays we’re always going, we never get a chance to pause and reset.”

Michael Page, a 21-year-old senior studying cinema and photography from Chatham, said the best thing you can do for yourself is eliminate the surprise of homework.

“Whatever time you plan to wake up, wake up 30 minutes earlier and do homework,” Page said. “Just doing that will rid you off ‘Oh my gosh that’s due tomorrow’ worry. Steal those 30 minutes from your sleep.”

Instead of taking your phone to bed, Page said to buy an alarm clock and put it on the other side of the room, which forces you to start the day.

One thing to remember when staying motivated through second semester is the investment that college is.

Every single second you spend in college is just preparation for the discipline and demands of the real world. Life doesn’t get easier after college.

Higher education is meant to expand one’s comfort zones and encourage knowledge growth.

Carbondale weather plays a huge part in spring semester difficulty. From icy sidewalks to dark nights, motivation levels to get out of bed for that 8 a.m. are pretty low.

Be aware and check the constant weather changes, so you don’t end up soaked with sweat in February, or frozen like an icicle in April.

Finally, don’t forget the basics.

Pack an extra pencil, always charge your phone at night and check the weather before wearing a jacket outside.

Additionally, make sure you order the right books for your classes and don’t wait until the last minute, make yourself known to your professors, and stop trusting D2L to save all responses at the end of a quiz.

What it really boils down to is that you’ve succeeded once before, and you can do it again. Just make sure you can walk before you sprint, especially if you’re late for class.

Staff writer Jeremy Brown can be reached at j[email protected].

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