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How To Study Smart In Your First Semester

How To Study Smart In Your First Semester

The first semester is here. You’re a week in, and there is so much to do! Homework has piled up, you’ve got papers to do already, and you’ve been assigned so many chapters to read before your next class. On top of that, you have to find time to try and live like a normal person. You have to eat, sleep, spend time with friends, and get to know your campus. You have club obligations, duties for your floor, and probably have already arranged to spend time with your roommates at the cafeteria on Thursday. 

Your problem is figuring out how to study in this time. One day is not enough to do everything, and no one is questioning that. However, you do have to balance your life and figure out how to get everything done in a timely manner. What’s the plan? Well, here’s the trick, or tricks, at least. There are a few different things that you have to include as you start managing your time a bit better. Read on to figure out what these are and which ones you can use!

Make a schedule and stick to it

Timing, timing, timing. It’s everything in life, but never more important than in school. College is all about management, something that even the best student struggles with at times. So here’s how to make it better; make a schedule. Draw or print out a calendar and hang it up on your wall. Then, make a list of things you absolutely must do by the end of the week. Homework, classes, studying, work, and ensuring that you make time for friends.


Figure out when you can do everything. Homework can be done from 2 PM to 7 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Your work shift is 11-8 on Friday and Saturday. Studying with friends? Pick your day. By the time you’re finished, you should have everything on your list on your calendar. As you go through your week, do your best to stand by your times. Of course, unexpected events will occur, and maybe you’ll end up loosing a night or two over something. It’s important to make time for recovery- both for your mental health and in case something does happen.

Form a study group

Study with your friends, or with your classmates. Whoever is available when you have time to study, reach out to them and pull them into a study room. Make sure that you ask them the questions that you have about your recent lessons, or clear up the information that you weren’t certain on before. Use their time to your advantage! Your teacher may not be available when you need them, so turn to your buddies to help you out.

Studying in a group can help you come up with new methods on how to memorize things, or how to understand something that was confusing. It’s also important to interact: social interaction is key in your health and happiness. Even if you do not necessarily enjoy the people that you are spending time with, it can help improve your overall mood. Studying in a group of people will be more beneficial than alone in many cases. Don’t take your group for granted: make sure you implement time with them!



Food and water are the absolute basics, but there’s more to caring about you than that. Just making sure you are fed and hydrated isn’t enough. You also have to be showered, dressed, and well-rested enough to focus. In that schedule you made, there should be time for you. Make a day of it. I recommend Sunday, when the week starts and your only obligations are to finish what you haven’t done in the previous days and prepare for the upcoming. If you’re heading out to see your family, then make sure you enjoy your time and keep your mind off of your work back at school.

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If you’re staying in your dorm this weekend, then take it slow. Your day is about you and relaxing while prepping for your future. Sleep in late if you can, make your meals for the week, and do any leftover homework if you have some. Spend extra time in the shower, listen to music, and do laundry if needed. It is important to remember that this time should be all about you and making sure that you are ready for the week ahead. For once, time is not of the essence. Your availability is on you, and you do not have to do anything if it isn’t for yourself.


Impossible. You have only 24 hours in the day and too many tasks to keep, or too many promises to fulfill. There is absolutely no method, no way, that you can make your studying work and still have time to rest and rejuvenate. However, the importance of sleep cannot be undermined. I cannot stress how essential it is for you to take a few hours and get your required nightly amount of sleep whenever possible. Work it into that study schedule of yours. Try to detox from the day by simply laying in bed and allowing yourself to desire sleep. Use different tricks to get your mind to calm down and force yourself to get to sleep. Do not let this go: you cannot survive if you do not sleep as much as you can! Depending on when you have to wake up the next day, plan about seven or eight hours earlier to be your destined “begin the journey to LaLa Land” time.


You are important, and it’s important not to forget that. As much as you may need to study, you also need to figure out the best way to do it so that you benefit too. Studying smart in your first semester is your key to success: a good routine will breed a good year. Make sure to get into it in your first year at college, and you will find yourself better off as your college career goes on!