New Year, New You!
BY ISABELLA HILL '25
This year is your chance to start fresh by reversing the effects of your all-nighters and achieving a balance between your mental, social, and academic life. So let's tackle it together! The first step is recognizing that success isn’t just about achieving the report card of your dreams; it’s also about getting a full eight (or more) hours of sleep and having a good social life. After all, does one bad test score really derail your dream life? I assure you—and soon, hopefully, you’ll realize—that it does not. Here’s the plan for a successful year: keep experimenting with study methods, learn to manage your time like a pro, and ultimately find that perfect work-life schedule. Remember that all aspects of your life are equally important and connected!
1.) Everyone Studies Differently: Find a Technique That Works!
The thing is, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to studying. So, take your time to discover what learning style(s) suits you best, and keep trying different study methods. Here's my secret: I re-read my textbook over and over, and then explain concepts out loud as if I’m talking to a little kid (AKA the Feynman Technique, which sounds much more official). Sure, it might feel unusual, but trust me, it works! And if you’re more of a visual learner, try using a whiteboard to draw diagrams. For auditory learners, try to meet in a study group and quiz each other. No matter your learning style, active recall is the way to go! Find a fun way—not necessarily just using flashcards—to check your knowledge before the test.
First of all, don’t be the person to pull out a pencil case jam-packed with highlighters during class. You can highlight and color-code after class; in fact, it’s a good reminder to revisit, annotate, and fill in any gaps in your notes at the end of the day. Like anything, consistency is key! Try to use the same colors throughout your notes and across classes to signify the same categories of information. For example, green signifies the main idea, blue equals important quotes, etc. You don’t need 100 colors; I use three to four to make sure I’m only highlighting critical info and not the whole page. If you’re anything like me and feel motivated to study when your notes are more organized and visually appealing, run to Amazon and get Mildliner Highlighters. They’re the best!
3.)Phones: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
When studying, put your phone on do-not-disturb and chuck it across the room. Really, do whatever it takes. Another option that doesn’t involve getting more cracks on your screen is to hide it somewhere and gaslight yourself into not remembering where you last put it. And if you’re waiting for someone to text back, check your phone during a study break (at least 30 minutes into studying). Bottom line: try not to compulsively pick up your phone.
4.) Scenery: It Matters!
Try mixing up your study area to determine where you're the most productive. What sounds the most appealing: doing work in Starbucks, sitting at your dining room table, or using a desk at home? Personally, I study best in the library, where I can hear people furiously typing, feel slightly paranoid thinking that people are watching me work (the pressure works, trust me), and am away from my room, which is my default place to procrastinate. Either way, find out if you like working with background noise—being surrounded by people or music—and figure out which places feel "right" for you.
5.) Make New Friends
You know what's a total game changer? Having a sense of community and a strong support system. Friends can make all the difference in surviving each school day and striking that perfect balance between academics and fun, so let me share some advice on making new friends and expanding your social circle. Try to get involved in clubs and sports; you'll meet like-minded people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise. Also, try making friends in each one of your classes. Socially, you’ll start to enjoy your classes more if you’re looking forward to seeing your friends. Academically, you can motivate each other to study, be each other's emotional support buddies, and even make study guides together. But always remember, it's not just about getting good grades; it's also about taking care of your well-being—socially, mentally, and physically. Wishing you the best of luck this year!