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Seven Ways to Finish The Semester Strong

Seven Ways to Finish The Semester Strong

As a sophomore in college student, I have mixed feelings towards online school. Being at a large institution (The Ohio State University) has made it almost impossible to have a class in-person. There has been adjustments to our schedules and how to learn in school. Although we have been adjusting all school year with virtual meetings and zoom class discussions, sometimes our motivation dies and is evident in our grades.

Follow these seven tips to help stay motivated and finish the year off strong!

Create a Schedule and Stay In Rhythm

As classes start back up, take a day to go through your syllabi for each class. Have your planner or calendar on deck and fill out important due dates, like when you will have a reading quiz or your first exam. I also like to color code different organization I am apart of and their meeting times. For example, every time I have a NAACP event or meeting, I note it in my calendar with an orange pen. That way, every time I see orange, I know it will involve NAACP and I’ll start to think about the task I have to do before that meeting. Some people like to use markers and highlighters, while others just like blue/black and red ink. Play with all options to see what helps you the most. Then get in rhythm. Once you have all your class times and important dates listed, you can schedule when to wake up, when to take breaks and “me-times”, and when you have time to be involved in other activities. Being consistent will not only help you remember what you have to do, but it will also keep you motivated throughout the semester and on top of assignments. If you mess up your rhythm, sometimes it can throw everything off, so you will want to try and stay consistent so everything is easier for you to fit in fun activities.

Stay Organized

Along with having a planner (or something to write down your reminders), you will want to be organized in all aspects. Keeping your work space clean and organized is a great way to help you focus. It is proven that messy work spaces clutter your mind and do not help you stay on task. Try keeping the desk area clean, open a window to allow fresh air to circulate the room, and make sure everything around you is put in its proper place.

You can also stay organized while you work by color coding your calendar or journal, or by using your phone to write down reminders and events in your phone calendar. Organization is key, and if you consistently stay organized this semester, I guarantee you will succeed.


Make a to-do list of everything you have to do daily or weekly. Then, list them by what is more important to get done first. I always write my to-do list by due dates. What ever is due sooner in the week is done first. Then I go by what I think will take me the most time. What ever I think is most time consuming, I put next so I can focus on that the most and get it done way before the due date. This way I’m not cramming it in, and I will insure myself I am turning in my best work. Also, prioritize what is good for you. If you are stuck between going out to a party, or studying for your exam this week, be smart. There will be more parties and another chance to hang out with your friends, but your exam is more important. Take time to study first, then take a break and have fun.

Get Out To Get Going

For me, I found that working in my room was only good for small assignments. If I needed to really study and get a lot of work done, I would leave my room and go to my living room or a public place to work. Sometimes the campus libraries would be full, so I would work at a public library or a cafe. This way, when I wanted to take a break, I would get up and buy some coffee or food to help refuel the mind. Bring a group of friends with you to help motivate each other. When I would go with my roommate, I would notice that she was still working, which made me want to keep going as well (This was also great for the breaks to be able to talk to someone).

Share Playlist

I love creating playlist, but sometimes I have to switch it up and hear new music. My study playlist sounds different from many of my friends, so sharing each other’s playlist can help find something new that might help while you’re doing work. I liked to listen to a different playlist each time I worked to find what helped me focus the most. I found out that fast and upbeat songs are not my thing for studying, but slow R&B music is perfect! What music do you listen to while studying?

Reward Yourself

After you turn in an assignment or finish reading a chapter, reward yourself. Go grab lunch with a friend or do some online shopping. Tell yourself that if you finish x amount of work, you can take a nap after, or go hang out with friends. You can also take time to care for your mental health and do some wellness activities. I like to tell myself after I complete an assignment, I can eat, sleep, or go out for about 30 minutes. Using the free mobile app Flora is great for this, because once you stay focused and off your phone, you can reward yourself with phone time.

Remind Yourself Of Your Goals

Sometimes we get discouraged when we receive a bad grade or when having little interactions with friends. Sometimes we would rather go out than finish an assignment. When you find yourself lacking motivation, remind yourself of your goals–long and short term. It is best to constantly remind yourself why you are in school, what your end goal is this semester, and what your life goal is after college. Reminders of what your purpose is will help motivate you and continue to work hard this semester. It is hard to think positive during hard times, but with constant reminders, you will be more positive and persistent to finish this school year strong. Try downloading motivational apps, or having motivation quotes as your lock screen to constantly push you to be better and keep working hard. Make goals daily, which will help you achieve more and more this semester.

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