The start of a new semester tends to come with a lot on the to-do list. Don’t let that put you off! Knowing how to kick-start a new term can really impact all aspects of your time at school. Whether it’s your first semester or your last, preparing yourself to begin the new term is important so you can be successful.
Check out this list with the top 7 ways to help you start this semester off on the right foot.
1. Staying organized is key
Getting organized and staying organized can be hard, but it can help your course work, as well as your workflow at the start of a new semester, and will have tremendous benefits to your stress levels. There are many amazing online organization tools and apps such as Goodnotes, MyHomework, Google Workspace or even a physical calendar that can keep all of your assignments and notes in one place. You can file your work into separate folders based on the class or sections, color-coding, and highlighting the most important stuff. With so many classes being online or hybrid, many professors are using slideshows during lectures. You should get in a habit of asking them to send you a copy so you can look back while studying. It may also be posted online where you submit assignments. Also, staying on top of your calendar and updating it with due dates and important events will help you to stay ahead of schedule. Being organized with your time and schedule will keep you on task so you don’t procrastinate.
Pro Tip: Scan any important paper documents or notes to an online folder for later. This will help you avoid having to dig through mountains of notes and random sheets of paper again.
2. Making campus your home away from home
At the start of a new semester, most students will be either returning to campus or are heading there for the very first time. Either way, this new address, new roommate, or new city will be your home away from home. At first, this can seem pretty overwhelming but you can bet everyone is as nervous as you when heading to campus. As you build friendships and get deeper into your course work, heading back to campus will feel like putting on your favorite comfy sweatshirt. It will feel natural and familiar after a while. You will probably even miss it while you are away!
Pro Tip: Bring something that reminds you of home to have if you get homesick!
3. Stay informed about what’s happening on campus
With college comes a whole lot of terms you’ve never heard of before, such as enrollment, course catalog, exam registration, and withdrawals.
It can be pretty daunting when:
a) You’re not really sure what you’re supposed to do,
b) Where you need to be,
c) And when you should be doing it.
One thing that can save you the added stress of college life is downloading any available calendars or information from your university’s or college’s website before the new semester starts. It could be mid-terms or finals schedules and the campus map, or even looking up groups or clubs on social media so you can connect with other students at your school about classes, lectures, and registration times.
Pro Tip: Note your drop, withdraw, and refund policies before classes start. Consider purchasing GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance to provide a reimbursement should you withdraw for a covered illness or injury at any time during the semester.
4. Keep Your Student ID With You at All Times
At last, a shiny new student card with your name and photo all over it! It’s proof that you’re now a member of your dream school. Not only will your student ID be your badge to get access to your dorm, campus buildings, and the library, it is also how you may pay for meals and snacks in the student union. Some classes even use your student ID card or your student number for attendance. You’ll get your card once you’ve enrolled and it’ll stay with you until your time at university is over. Just try not to lose it or get it stolen. If it is however, you can check with your student services to get a replacement card, though it will cost you some money.
Pro Tip: Did you know your student ID can also save you money? Check out student discounts on stuff such as entertainment, event tickets, tech, clothing and more!
5. Books, Books, and, YES, more Books!
Do college classes even require textbooks anymore? Yes, they actually do and many online ones require them as well! Course books and other reading material will be your lifeline during your time in college. You can stay one step ahead of any stress by purchasing your books a few weeks before your new semester starts. Textbooks are not all created equal and some can be quite costly, so be on the lookout for what you need at a second-hand bookstore or in the used section. Some classes will require that you purchase a digital version of the book or an online access code. Unfortunately, these can not be usually be purchased secondhand and are often some of the most expensive materials needed for class.
Pro Tip: Before you buy a new or even used book, see if the bookstore allows rentals. Many times, you can rent these for a fraction of the purchase price AND you can still highlight and take notes. Win-win!
6. Managing your time
Life in college can be vastly different than anything in your life up to this point. The rigid structure of high school and bell schedules is long gone. From managing your personal time to sleep, do chores, and hangout with friends, to going to class, studying, and doing other assignments, it can be hard not to get overwhelmed!
If you’re able to master the art of managing your time for studying, work, and your personal life early on in the semester you will feel better come the end of the semester and things get even more crazy. Dedicating the right amount of time to your education, work commitments, socializing, and of course, just for yourself is critical and will ensure you get the most out of each. Sure, your student years will involve social events with your friends, but at the end of the day it’s all about balance. Tipping the scales too far to one side can have dramatic effects on the other. Try a few different things to find what works for you to make sure that you are leaving enough time for all the important things in you life, but sometimes you might just have to say “no”.
Pro Tip: Try to pick your classes on block days so other days are left open for studying, a part-time job, or fun stuff. For example, look for classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only, leaving you able to do other things on Tuesdays and Thursdays!
7. Remember to have fun!
You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but your time in college will turn out to be some of the best years of your life. Of course, there are exams, essays, and lots of homework, but studying and diving deep into a major you love will turn out to be so much better than you thought. Knowledge is power and can open so many doors for you in the future, so soak it up while you can! You’ll meet people from all walks of life so make time to network straight away, join extracurricular activities, and share your passions with the others around you.