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New Year, New No-Stress Semester

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The start of a new year is often met with excitement, while the start of a new semester has its fair share of stress for both students and faculty. Whether you’re hitting the books or leading the class, finding ways to manage stress is crucial for a successful and positive academic experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate the challenges of the new semester:

Study with Less Stress

Get Organized

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. Having not only your possessions and living space organized, but your thoughts, schedules, and priorities in order too will be one of your biggest de-stressers. If you haven’t already, invest in a planner or digital calendar to keep track of important dates, assignments, and exams. Break down large tasks into more manageable steps for a clearer path forward. Which leads us to our second tip: time management.

Time Management

With those new planners, calendars, and clutter-free outlook on life, commit to the new found organization by also organizing your time. Develop a realistic schedule that allows for both study time and relaxation. Avoid procrastination by breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. Effective time management is the key to a balanced academic life and most importantly, will aid in keeping your anxieties and stress to a minimum.


Once you’ve penciled in your allotted times for completing assignments, studying, and existential dread, you can now fill in your open spaces with what brings you joy. It’s extremely important to take the time to take care of yourself by doing what you love. A well-rested and nourished mind is better equipped to handle academic challenges. We especially recommend low commitment hobbies such as listening to music, going on walks, or walking while listening to music. It’s also an easy way to explore your campus and get some effortless exercise- yet another de-stresser!


Believe it or not, exercise can be one of the best ways to relieve or prevent stress. Not only can you release negative, pent-up energy when it accumulates, but if you get ahead of the curve, before stress reaches its peak, exercising gives your mind a brief break from the mental toll you’ve been going through and leads to better sleeping patterns. This can be a step towards a general self-care habit or ensuring you get enough sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and make time for activities you enjoy. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Connect with Peers

Finally, give yourself time to be with friends and classmates. Building a support system is essential. Connect with your cohort, share notes, and consider forming study groups. Attend student organization meetings or events to meet new people and create a positive social network.

Worry-Free Semester for Faculty:

Plan Ahead

The advice of being organized applies to everyone. Lay the groundwork for a successful semester by having a clear course outline and schedule prepared in advance. Communicate expectations to students and colleagues, fostering a positive and organized learning environment.

Set Boundaries

Prioritize a healthy work-life balance by clearly communicating office hours and availability to students. Avoid over committing yourself and set boundaries that allow for personal and professional well-being.


Faculty members need self-care too. Prioritize your well-being by taking breaks, engaging in activities you enjoy, and considering professional development opportunities to stay inspired and refreshed.

Reflect and Improve

Finally, take the time to reflect on previous semesters, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes accordingly. Continuous reflection and improvement contribute to a positive and evolving educational experience.

An effective way to do this for SmartEvals partners is to utilize our myFocus feature to its full potential. SmartEvals’ myFocus allows instructors to keep track of student feedback on problem areas they may be facing and provides automated tips and advice for improvement as your semesters progress. If you’re not yet a SmartEvals partner, learn more about our customized coaching feature by scheduling a demo below!


Navigating a new semester doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By implementing these stress-relief tips, both students and faculty can set the stage for a successful and fulfilling academic journey. Remember, taking care of your well-being is a crucial aspect of academic success. Good luck!

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