New Term, New Me


What can you do better this term?


As human beings, it’s understandable that we all fall susceptible to that “New Year, New Me” mentality. Yes, we know that time is really a social construct and the world isn’t going to dramatically shift the minute after 12.31.2016 at 11:59 pm. That doesn’t mean wanting to make a change and see some improvements is a bad thing, or that you can’t use the opportunity to start your transition into a more productive member of society. The spring semester is the equivalent of the New Year. When you stepped back onto campus after J-Term, you probably felt that shift. But, just in case you didn’t and need some ideas, here are some tips:

Show Up

Show up to a lecture or two, even after you find out that they’re all taped and it’s a big enough class that your TF won’t notice. Yeah, the Q Guide swore that you don’t need to go to class to get an A but you’re literally only spending the hour you could be in lecture watching another episode during a Netflix binge. Unfortunately, you can’t get a citation or secondary in Netflix. If you think about it, the lecture videos are kind of just Indie Netflix documentaries that you put on to help you fall asleep. Except I don’t see “Lecture and Chill” catching on.

Use That Passport

Actually travel to other dining halls and not just because you have a meeting that cuts into dinner. Hit your friends up that don’t live in your neighborhood to catch up and find out how the other half lives. Try out the 1636’er, which is much faster and easier than the “walking uphill two miles both ways in the snow” that you hear about from alumni. Yeah, the first time you try it you can’t find the silverware or drinks or tray return but it’s also a nice reminder of how much you enjoy the comfort of your own dining hall. Just like the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, the hamburgers aren’t always less burnt on other House grills.

Be Present

Make it to the entryway study break every once in awhile. Your floor tutor is starting to wonder if you’re even still living there because they run into your college-married roommates at least 10 times as often as they see you. Study breaks have food outside of finals period and showing up before then helps make sure you get in your order for Kong when the tutor gets delivery for the floor.

Regulate Sleeping

Get up before noon. You don’t have to get out of bed necessarily but being conscious is a good step towards leaving the SWUG life behind you, especially since you’re not even a senior yet. Being exhausted for that 10 am lecture is just life, but it’s also probably staying up until 4 am on a regular basis because of Who You Are As A Person™. Perhaps the reason you’ve needed a calculator to verify simple math on each question is because you haven’t slept in 2 days. Unlike that calculus problem, there’s a simple solution to sleep deprivation: Sleep. As the great Shia LeBeouf once said, “Just do it.”

Be Responsive

Return emails. Return them in a reasonable amount of time. It’s in your best interest. Yeah, some of them are spam. Actually, most of them are spam. That’s actually a problem in itself, but start out with responding to a professor immediately. That rush of adrenaline can really help you power through nearly an entire semester.

Stop Ghosting

During Visitas you signed up for more list-servs than could fit on a single page. Of course, it also took you until winter break sophomore year before you finally found out how to get off the email lists after a “Please remove me from this” responding spree on a single thread from half the college population. Instead of RSVP’ing to those guest events that cut into dinner and require putting pants on instead of taking a nap after an all-nighter, be honest with yourself. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you don’t want to go to that party for your blockmate’s estranged freshman roommate’s birthday. But it’s tacky to ignore the texts asking which shuttle to catch because you’ve decided to put pajamas on at 4 pm and it doesn’t look like they’re coming back off until after brunch tomorrow. It’s easier to just admit you’re emotionally exhausted and have no capacity to grab coffee with the kid who helped you pass your intro courses freshman year than to pretend you caught a 24-hour bug an hour before you’re supposed to meet. As usual, it begins with being honest with yourself.

Eat Healthier

You can start by actually eating the salad you spent 5 minutes preparing carefully while waiting for your grill order hamburger to get finished. Lowering the frequency of your trips to your dorms vending machine for junk food while finishing an essay is also a great step. Honestly, even taking the stairs to the vending machine rather than the elevator would be a good move. It’s not realistic to recommend you drink less, but maybe swap out those mixers for something healthier. Vodka and cranberry juice is at least 2 servings of fruit right there!

Update Your Wardrobe

You’ve been wearing nothing but the free t-shirts you stocked up on during the activity fair at the beginning of the year. It’s getting pretty obvious that you only do laundry when you have a date, an interview, or run out of underwear because everything you’ve worn for the last month is crimson and has the word “Veritas” somewhere on it. The clothes your mom sends you in care packages either never fit or make you look like a visiting alumni.

Do the Reading

If you’d only spend a fraction of the time you spend proofreading your roommate’s risky texts to that Tinder boy on the assigned reading, imagine how much you’re professor would love you! You could become section kid if you read a page from the textbook for each time you swiped right. Invest in yourself. I don’t mean that you have to actually buy the textbooks for class, because we both know that the free .pdfs the boy you flirted with in office hours sent you will do the trick. Maybe you have less stake in reading the book when you paid nothing for it and it’s just taking up room on your laptop, but imagine if it didn’t feel like your TF was speaking in another language every time you were in section (unless it’s a language course…).

Of course, this is far from an inexhaustible list. The first step is admitting you have the problem. The second is spending a day writing an article to jokingly advise other people to fix their own.

Hunter Richards ( will try to execute as many of these tips in her own life this term!