On the Right Track

For many, classes have either already started or are just about to start. Even in the beginning of the semester, it’s easy to let these upcoming months get away from you. It’s also easy to get overwhelmed with it all. But there are a few things you can do to ensure you have a great semester.

If you’re just starting your higher education journey this spring, go all out. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Search your college’s resources for ways you can be involved with people who share the same interests as you. That doesn’t mean you need to be involved with everything, but it helps you make friends easier and it looks great on a résumé. Another thing that is helpful is to start your routine early on. For example, if you know you’re not a morning person and you have a class that starts at 8 a.m., try to wake up as early as you need to everyday to ensure you’re in a good headspace before your class begins. It might be hard at first, but trust me, it’s worth it.

And if you’re like me, who is so close to graduating, well…the same thing applies. Keep staying involved but focus on those who have been there for you since day one. Yes, deadlines and job and grad school applications are important, but you don’t want to neglect making memories with the peers you care about because you don’t know when you’ll see them again. But be proactive on what you plan to do after you graduate. Yes, it’s scary to think about and it’s probably a question you’ll hear more than you’d like, but it’s important. And while you’re in school you have people like career advisors and peers who can point you in the right direction. If you still don’t have a clue about what you want to do afterwards, that’s completely okay—just focus on the now and take it one day at a time.

Other things that affect all students young or old, new or returning, are stress and confidence. There are going to be days where you might think, “Do I belong here?” You might ask, “Did I make the right choice of coming back this semester?” The answer is, a hundred times, YES! The moments that school drains you from all your energy are the moments you need to keep on pushing. Remember, the person who got you here was you. Even if you had a large support system of family and friends, it was you who made the active choice of getting a higher education. Lean on your family and friends when you need support and advice, but remember you got this! All the late nights of studying will soon be worth it. All the time spent on papers and research will be worth it. You have a large community of people who can’t wait to see you succeed, along with all your ancestors who are looking out for you. You can do this!

Scarlett Cortez is a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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