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An Artlet’s Guide to Beginning a New Semester

art by DOLORES JANE C. PICA
art by DOLORES JANE C. PICA

THE NEXT academic year is fast approaching, but not everyone is ready to let go of satisfying afternoon naps and lazy days at the beach just yet. Beginning a semester is always a tough task, so here are a few tips to help you slowly ease into a new chapter of your university life.

1. Finish your to-watch and to-read list before the onslaught of academic load and extra-curricular activities. Curl up with a good book or marathon those series you’ve been wanting to watch. Once your vacation ends, you can never be as chill as you are now.

2. Clean and organize files in your computer or laptop to make room for future handouts, presentations and videos. Invest in an external hard-drive, or set up a Google Drive to back-up important documents. Avoid last minute hard-drive cleansing, and put files in order ahead of time. The last thing you need a few horrifying minutes before a deadline is a blue pop-up on your screen telling you you’ve run out of memory space.

3. Check if your uniforms still fit. Classes are only a few days away and you’ll once again be donned in them. A few months spent lounging on the couch and munching on food may have earned you a couple of pounds. Make sure you don’t look pudgy in your blouse or polo shirt. After all, it’s not too late to run some extra laps, or send that navy skirt or pair of pants to the tailor.

4. Fix your body clock and develop a healthy lifestyle. It is time to plot a workout plan, consume nutritious meals, and abandon irregular sleeping routines. Research suggests that sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise will not only help you get in shape, but also reduce stress.

5. Control your impulses and reduce your expenses. UST is surrounded by countless food establishments and newly-opened clothing shops. Hold yourself together, and prioritize reading materials, school supplies, and your share in group expenses. Avoid riling your seatmate with the incessant “Pahingi naman ng yellow pad,” or “Bukas na lang kita babayaran.”

6. Prioritize readings before gimmicks. Rather than using escapades as a diversion, treat them as a reward system for a job well done. Gather your friends and dissect readings and accomplish assignments together. It’s easier to hang out afterward, without thoughts of unfinished tasks looming over your heads.

7. Step out of your comfort zone and get to know more people. You might be surprised that perhaps the most unlikely person shares your fascination with music, TV shows, and art exhibits. Or learn new things and widen your understanding by exchanging views and opinions with people who contradict your personality.

8. Hone your passion and share your talents. There are a lot of university-wide and college-based organizations that are willing to help you unleash your potential. Don’t dismiss the opportunity to join them. Besides, they are a great avenue to unwind after the exhausting academic responsibilities.

9. Weigh your commitments. Becoming involved in organizations is an exciting and fulfilling part of university life. However, you may get carried away and bite off more than you can chew. So list tasks and events in a journal to help you navigate through your plans easier. Determine your priorities and organize a schedule that concurs with the flow of both your academic, extra-curricular, and social life.

Every semester is an opportunity to learn and grow, so don’t waste time dealing with hesitations and what ifs. Take a leap toward new experiences, and out of your comfort zone. Make the most of your college life by taking risks, expanding your social circle, planning wisely, and nurturing your skills and interests. JULIENNE MAUI C. MANGAWANG

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