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The Mass Media

Advice with the Arts Editor: Perspectives on the new semester

Olivia Reid
Students walk toward the Campus Center to get to their next class. Photo by Olivia Reid/ Photography Editor

The beginning of another semester has arrived and we are yet again faced with the stress of school. Personally, I’m hoping to do better in my classes because I’ve discovered something called a work-school-life balance. Here’s a little insight into my plan for having a good semester. 

Throughout my whole life, I’ve had the worst problem with procrastination. I’ve decided to implement a little self-discipline to combat this problem. Self-discipline itself is a difficult skill to learn if you weren’t taught it from a young age. 

Before this semester, I didn’t really get how successful people were able to just sit down and work. I was always distracted by my phone, my roommate walking by, the bird flying by the window and literally everything else that was going on in the world around me. 

I watched a YouTube video a couple weeks ago by Thewizardliz (1) that called me out and completely flipped my mindset. She was talking about how she grew up and became successful. To her, there was no other option. She had to do this to get out of her difficult living situation (2). 

I felt insanely privileged. Here I am procrastinating to work for an education that I am lucky to have, when so many people don’t even get the opportunity to go to higher education. I’m not in a difficult living situation. I have as many options as I want. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t realize this sooner. 

Once I gained that perspective, I knew that I needed to get back in gear and put all that I can into my work. I’m so lucky to be here and have all the opportunities that I want. And more than that, I love my major. I love learning, I love everything about the classes I’m taking, yet here I am procrastinating on work that I love.

It made absolutely no sense to me. Whatever funk I had been in the last couple semesters, that just pulled me completely out, and I hope it brings some sense to anyone who feels similarly. 

After the realization a couple weeks ago, I had a goal. I needed to succeed at this school to prove to myself that I could and for the sake of everyone who couldn’t get this opportunity. To get to this goal, I had to set up a system that would work for me.

As I mentioned earlier, I discovered that work shouldn’t take up my whole schedule, so I had to reframe how I set up my time. I was using this software called Notion, but I didn’t utilize it as much as I should have until this year. 

I don’t use planners—I never remember to bring them with me—so instead, Notion became my planner. Notion is a personalized workspace that you can customize for your needs. It’s free to any student; you just have to enter your school email.

You can design your whole workspace yourself or you can use one of over 5,000 templates on their website. I have a master list of all of my assignments that can also be viewed as a calendar, as well as a homepage for every course. In each homepage, I have a calendar that tracks what unit we’re on, and I embed the syllabus into the page so I don’t have to go search for it through Blackboard. 

This sounds complicated, but Notion has tutorials on every aspect of the software on their website and it’s also very user-friendly, so it’s not too difficult to figure out. There is also an app for your phone and widgets for IOS or Android homepage, so you can access your pages easily.

Besides planning out your semester, you need to start with good sleep hygiene. It makes everything so much easier. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up early. I was always a night owl before I did this. I didn’t think waking up early was for me, but it makes you feel so much better.

Also, treat yourself with the many discounts and free programs that are available to college students. Target has a free rewards program that runs student discounts once in a while. With South Bay’s easy accessibility through the Red Line or Bus Route 8, it’s difficult to say no. 

Amazon also gives students a free six month trial of Amazon Prime and half price after those six months run up. Besides free two-day delivery, Prime members get free delivery on GrubHub, Calm for $8.99 per year (compared to $69.99 per year), 10 percent off flights and hotels and so many entertainment deals on various channels (3).

Microsoft Office 365 is $2.99 per month for students. Spotify, Hulu and Showtime have a bundle for $4.99 per month. AMC has discounts for students who show their ID at checkout—there’s also one at South Bay. (4)

Also, take advantage of the Student Arts and Events Council’s discounted tickets for UMass Boston students! They have discounted tickets to sports games, movies, museums and more.


  1. https://www.youtube.com/@Thewizardliz 
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caC919Poryg&ab_channel=Thewizardliz 
  3. https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Student/b?ie=UTF8&node=668781011 
  4. https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-student-discounts-ncna1297864
  5. https://collegeinfogeek.com/student-discounts/
About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor