As the calendar flips to November, the demand on college students gets higher. Making it through this month can be tough.

The first semester of the school year is closing. Students at universities and colleges are starting to feel pressure from major projects, papers, and the impending doom of finals lurking over the horizon. Music majors often find this time arduous due to the concerts they perform and the recital or studio requirements.

November is a challenging month. But, getting through it and the end of the semester can be rewarding if you focus your energy and efforts. Here are some ways you can make November a successful month.

Read the syllabus

Remember that piece of paper or packet you received on the first day of class? You know, the one that laid out the plan for the entire semester, grading scale, how to contact your professor, and date of the final? That paper is important, and most students forget about it after the first day of class.

Here is the thing. All the information for the class is commonly in the syllabus. Waiting until December to review what is contained in the packet is a massive mistake that students constantly make. If you are worried about your grade or any of the content in the class, refer to the syllabus. Then, contact your professor now to talk about concerns. December is too late.

Do not be this student! Avoid this example from happening:

Or this:

Plan your days

This seems like a no-brainer, but planning out the details of your day will help eliminate stress. When you schedule your day and stick to it, your mind will be more at ease and ready for the next task. The hard part is following through.

Be sure to plan your entire day. From the time you get up until the time you go to bed, schedule every activity. Try to give equal time to every subject you need to study and plan ahead. If you know there is a paper due in two weeks, schedule an hour each day dedicated to working on that paper. Maybe your Physics class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Be sure to schedule some time on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to review the content discussed.

In addition to scheduling class time, home work, and meals, be sure to allow time for coffee with some friends or racquetball. While studying is crucial, the body and soul need time to refresh.

And, do not forget to sleep.

Leave town

“Wanna get away?” This commercial motto from Southwest Airlines is something we all feel at times. Because of the demands we have in school and our schedules, we often limit ourselves to the same buildings and walk-ways on a daily basis. There is nothing wrong with that; however, the routine can become mundane. Sometimes, you just need to change.

At least once in the weeks before Thanksgiving, get out of town. Get some of your friends together and get away from the familiar. Plan a bonfire out by the lake, go shopping, or find a local-favorite spot in a different town and enjoy time away. The change of scenery and sounds can relief stress.

Talk it out

This time of year can be hard on anyone. With school work and activities needing completion before the holidays, the demands are already high enough. Add to this the pressure from family to plan your travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or the memories of those you miss during this time, it can be more than one person can handle.

Talk to someone. Most universities and colleges offer free counseling to students. Holding on or internalizing the emotions and stress you may be feeling can lead to non-healthy habits. Take time to talk through everything with a counselor. That is why they are there.


Yes. This really should be understood. However, the later the semester goes, the harder it is attend class or study. Studying regularly now lead to understanding the material better, leading to needing to study less later. Cramming for a final exam rarely works.

Music Majors: This means practice!! Daily, get in the practice rooms and work on your scales. The more time you spend on them now, the less you will need to do before your jury. When your studio professor say “two hours a day outside of ensembles,” they mean it. Doing so will prepare you better for your final and build your confidence. Furthermore, the techniques you use in the practice room will also transfer to teaching ensemble after you graduate.

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