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Service Journalism: How to start off second semester right

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Maybe first semester didn’t turn out as well as you hoped, or maybe you just want to learn how to improve; well second semester has started and now you have the opportunity to grow and succeed. Follow these tips and learn how to succeed in your second semester.

Get Organized:

Organization is key to getting your life in order. First, clean out your backpack and binder; you don’t want first semester’s mess to interfere with your chance at a fresh start second semester. Carefully go through your work from the previous semester and store away important sheets in a compartment at home where you’ll be able to access it, so when the time comes to review for any AP exams or final exams, you’ll be able to pull them out.

Purchase or create your own planner to help you organize and plan your school work and activities for the new semester. Color code by using different colored pens for specific subjects and get matching folders or binders to place work in. Check out these sites on how to make and organize your own planner:

Work Ahead and Stop Procrastinating:

Usually when second semester hits, teachers begin to assign homework in bigger chunks to be completed over a period of time, so it’s better to get started as soon as possible. Starting off work as soon as it’s assigned will give you more time in the end to relax and not have to cram two weeks worth of an outline in one night.

Typically second semester consists of more projects and essays, so get to it by first using your planner and schedule a specific amount of each day dedicated to working on that project. Or if your teacher typically assigns readings, get a head start and read an extra chapter or two.

Now this can be redundant, but the procrastination needs to come to an end. Manage your time wisely by working earlier or doing things once they’re assigned so you don’t fall behind. In second semester, it’s easier to fall back into relax mode and ignore working on your school work, but that only hurts you in the end. All the time you spend procrastinating instead of working keeps you from enjoying more relaxation time.

According to, “Break your goal into small pieces. The bigger your goal or the change you want to make, the more quickly it can send you into overwhelm. So if your goal feels daunting, break it into manageable, bite-sized steps.

Get Some Sleep

Yes, it seems trivial to tell teens to try and sleep, but it is so so important for your body and your performance in school. It can be difficult to start off a completely new sleep schedule, so gradually try and add some more hours to your sleep regimen.

You should be aiming for no less than seven hours of sleep each night, so finish your homework earlier and put your phones away. If you want to start off second semester right, it’s vital you start off your sleeping habits right too.

Eat Healthier

If you eat better, you’ll feel better. Eating healthy snacks throughout the school day, like granola bars, fruits, and vegetables will keep you energized and thriving throughout the day. You’ll be able to process and comprehend school material better, and will have more motivation to succeed in second semester.

According to, “The Food Research and Action Center relates that students who eat a complete instead of partial breakfast work more quickly with fewer math and number errors than those who don’t. Healthy eating also contributes to better performance on vocabulary and visual skills tests.”

Here are some healthy ideas for school snacks:

Start Prepping for Exams

For AP students, you all know what’s coming up in a few months and it’s better to get started on it now because next thing you know, it’s the first week of May and you can’t find your lecture notes to study. Get a review book from your local library, or buy one off Amazon and start scheduling time to prepare for the big exam.

Actively reviewing at the start of second semester will refresh your memory of the content and give you more confidence when taking the exam after knowing you have effectively prepared for it.

List Things You Did Right First Semester

Now don’t try and pretend first semester didn’t exist, because surely there are some valuable methods and habits of first semester that kept you afloat and thriving. List things that went right for you first semester, like good study habits, effective note taking strategies, and stress relief methods and incorporate them into your new semester.

Set Aside Some Time for Relaxation and Stress Relief

With all the hard work you’re going to be putting in second semester, it’s important for you to take some time to step back and breathe. Don’t overwhelm yourself and allow yourself to have some fun by reading a book, watching a favorite television show or movie, hanging with your friends, or doing an artistic activity. Set some time for you to enjoy life because you want a balance between your education and happiness. But remember don’t get too carried away that you forget your priorities, which is succeeding second semester.

About the Writer
Kassy Ortega, OP/ED Editor

Grade: 12

Most passionate about: Dogs, Leonardo Dicaprio, and film

Teletubby that relates to you most: Tinky Winky

Favorite book: Somehow I...

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