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The Whole Kid: New Year’s Edition

Updated: Feb 5


Happy new year! Can you believe it’s already 2024? If you’re anything like this author, you’re very excited about the days to start getting longer, but sort of dreading the return to school after a well-needed winter break. It’s totally normal to feel apprehensive or overwhelmed at the idea of going back for the next semester.


Here are a few tips to combat that feeling and start the new semester feeling prepared—let’s break it down!


Try to set a more regular sleep schedule before classes start back up.

  • If you’re a night owl like me, you relish break because you can stay up late watching TV, hanging out with friends, or finishing that novel you finally got to! However, this can get our sleep schedules really out of whack, and leave us feeling groggy in the mornings when we’re once again faced with the cold reality of 8am classes. 

  • When I was younger, my mom would always make us “practice” getting into a good sleep schedule a few days before school started. I always thought it was silly, but we were better off for it when Monday morning rolled around.


Set some goals for the semester—both academic and personal. 

  • Are you taking a new class this semester, or continuing in a class with the same teacher/professor? Take a look at your grade from last semester. Think about what went well, and maybe what didn’t. Maybe your goal is to get a higher grade in that class this semester, or to feel more prepared to engage in class discussions. 

  • Based off those goals, are you set up with benchmarks to succeed? Did your organizational habits work for you last semester, or did you often feel yourself procrastinating and rushing at the last minute? Depending on how you answer those questions, look ahead to big deadlines and assignments you have coming up this semester and plan accordingly.

  • Setting personal goals are just as important for happiness and success as academic ones. Think about what brings you joy and energy outside the classroom—are you on a sports team or in a club that you really enjoy? Do you want to plan a fun dinner with friends or attend prom for the first time? Set some goals for your personal life that you can look forward to this semester!


Be gentle on yourself.

  • We often set lofty new year’s resolutions that can be difficult to keep up with. According to The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, 23% of people quit their resolutions by the end of the first week of the year, and 43% quit by the end of January. If you made new year’s resolutions, do your best to set reasonable benchmarks so you are able to keep up. If you slip up for a day or even a week, don’t beat yourself up. Realize that you have a lot going on in your life and everyone deserves a break. Then evaluate what went wrong, and reset!


Sarah Tibbitts is a 2nd year law student at Case Western Reserve University, where she is concentrating in public interest/criminal law.

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