Here’s How to Have A Great Semester

Hello friends! I know a lot of us have already started school or are heading back in a few short weeks which means hello stress, long nights, and endless cups of coffee. That could be your semester, or you could have a stress-free, sleep-filled, exciting semester! I want everyone to have a successful semester with minimal stress because we’re all way too young to be stressing this much about school. Now is as good of a time as any to figure out how to have a great semester.

Here's How to Have a Great Semester | Tips & Tricks for Succeeding in College

This post is full of tips from me and other college bloggers across the web. Originally, I wanted to write a whole post about all of these topics, but then I realized it’d be like 3,000 words long and no one wants to read that, nor did I want to spend 3 hours writing out a post. It’s important to start off the semester off right in order to have a successful few months. After all failing to plan is planning to fail. And we definitely don’t want to fail, do we?

 Start the semester off right:

Organize & Prioritize

A successful semester will not start by you having no clue where anything is, when any of your assignments are due, or having a disaster of a backpack. Taking two hours to organize and prioritize will save you so much time down the road. Think organizing and prioritizing can only happen the first week of the semester? Wrong. Even if it’s mid-November, get your life together and save yourself multiple mental breakdowns during finals week.

Get in the habit of using planners, wall calendars, color-coding, and to-do lists to keep yourself on track for the day, week month, and semester. Invest in some cute pens, some fancy highlighters, and cute stationery to keep you using these methods throughout the entire semester! Looking for more tips on staying organized? Caitlyn from College with Caitlyn has got you covered.

Here's How to Have a Great Semester | How I Stay Organized in College from College with CaitlynDo you struggle with prioritizing? Are you always focused on trying to accomplish the most daunting task on your to-do list? Maybe it’s time to re-think how you’re prioritizing your time. Instead of focusing on the biggest task you have to do, work on accomplishing those smaller tasks and break down the larger tasks to make them more manageable. 

How to Have an Great Semester - The Art of Prioritizing from Welcome to Aly's World

Get those syllabi in order

Your syllabus is your life in college. If it’s written in the syllabus, write it down everywhere. Professors may not remind you about a test coming up – it’s up to you to know for when things are scheduled. If you’ve yet to organize your syllabi, sit down right now and do it. I don’t care if it’s the middle of the semester, your life will be much less hectic if you figure out your syllabi.

Dani Dearest has two amazing syllabi organization tools. Her assignment planner is perfect for the list-maker who loves to check things off. If you’re a visual person and live and breathe by calendars, her assignment calendar was made just for you.

Here's How to Have an Great Semester - Assignment Schedule from Dani Dearest Here's How to Have an Great Semester - Assignment Calendar from Dani Dearest

Learn how you study:


College may be the first time that you actually have to study for something. And no, I’m not talking about reviewing your notes 20 minutes before the test. I’m talking about a good 2-4 hours a few days before the test. If you’re new to the whole studying thing or you’re a studying expert, Tori from Chase the Write Dream has some perfect tips to get you started!

Here's How to Have an Great Semester - Study Tips for College Students from Chase the Write Dream

Create Study Guides

Study guides don’t have to be given to you. I almost always make my own study guide for every class when test time comes around. It let’s me type up and organize my notes all while doing some effortless studying. If you’re struggling with creating your own, Emily from Little Flecks of Gold‘s How to Make a Study Guide is perfect for you!

Here's How to Have an Great Semester - How to Make a Study Guide from Little Flecks of Gold Here's How to Have a Great Semester

And can we just talk about how cute the How to Study a Difficult Subject infographic is?? It’s from a studyblr called Her Mind is Made Up. Definitely check her out for some beautiful note-taking inspiration.

ace that note taking game

You can’t create a quality study guide without taking quality notes. Whether you prefer typing or writing, notes are super important. I always, always, always make sure I have a notebook and pen ready for every class because you never know when the professor will blurt out that something will be on the test. This spring, I took some time to show you all how I organize my notes, and Tori from Chase the Write Dream also sat down and showed you all how to effectively take notes!

 Struggling in a college class or just looking to improve your note taking? Check out this post for tips & tricks to keep those notes organized and resourceful!  Here's How to Have an Great Semester - Note Taking Tips from Chase the Write Dream

Do something you enjoy:

Whether that’s hanging out with friends one night, ordering a pizza and having a movie night, going to the gym, or staying in bed one afternoon watching Netflix, don’t forget to take time for yourself. College is an amazing experience, but if you’re too caught up in only getting good grades, your mental health is going to suffer. There’s always time to take a step away from the books and just breathe.


Last year, my mental health suffered and I did not enjoy my freshman year at all. So, take it from me. Take a trip to the local farmer’s market one Saturday morning. Treat yourself to brunch. Go to Target for a few hours. Head to a local coffee shop and bury yourself in a good book. If you want to see a post about how to get out and let your mental health thrive while in college, let me know in the comments. It’s something I’m super passionate about now that I went through such a rough year and I’d love to write it if y’all would love to read it.

Have a wonderful semester! Is there anything that helps you stay organized, focused, and on top of things throughout the year?

~abigail gray

  • Mental health is SO important, but it is neglected by a lot of college students. If I’ve learned one thing in college, it would be that sometimes you need to put yourself first and that your mental sanity will always be more important than a term paper or exam. At the same time though, it is definitely easier to plan ahead of time and stay organized so that you allot yourself enough time to study or write your essay. Great post!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

  • Awe you featured my post! At first I almost didn’t recognize it because you used my blog header image, not my Pinterest image (I spend way too much time on that website Lol). Thank you! And yes you totally should write a post about mental health in college! I didn’t nurture mine my freshmen year either, so that’s one of the things that really pushed me to start my blog!

    Caitlyn |

    • If you want me to use your Pinterest image, send it my way! Also, I’m definitely going to do a mental health post. It’ll probably be out later in the semester because it’ll take a few weeks/months to write!