It’s that time of year again. The free-to-do-whatever, lazy days and late nights are coming to an end. The start of another school year is approaching quickly. Whether it’s your first or last year, the beginning of a new semester can be stressful and overwhelming. Hopefully, the following list of tips can aid in your success and can alleviate some of that pre-semester stress.
#1: Get Organized
Before anything, buy an agenda. Having an agenda readily available is hands-down one of the easiest ways to stay organized. Personally, I learned very early on that I couldn’t keep track of all the little things I had going on throughout the day and finally bought an agenda. Writing down due dates, events, weekend plans, or work schedules helps you budget out your time with ease.
Next, buy any school supplies beforehand. Base this on how many classes you’re going to be taking. If you’re someone who likes handwriting notes over typing, grab a notebook and folder for each class. Even if you take notes electronically, you can never have too many pens or pencils.
This next idea isn’t necessarily a “pre-semester” tip, but it will definitely help you stay on top of things throughout the school year. After your professor hands out the syllabus, go home, review it, and write down the course schedule in your agenda. I’ve also found it very beneficial to write down which textbook chapter is being reviewed that week–this has helped me to stay on top of readings.
Make a “cheat sheet” for your syllabi. Once you’ve received a syllabus for every class, take a moment to write down the most important information about your professors. When I do this, I typically write down their name, email, phone number, office number, and office hours. This isn’t a necessary thing to do, but I have found it useful.
#2: Budgeting Time & Money
This is huge. It’s easy to over-schedule yourself, and sometimes it’s unavoidable. To sidestep this, use that agenda. If you have a bunch of due dates coming up, keep the weekend before as open as possible. Budgeting your time will save you from burning out. Balancing school, work, and social life can easily become exhausting. Give yourself time to breathe. I always try to dedicate one day of the week (normally Sunday’s) to relax, decompress, and get a good night’s sleep.
Whether you have a job while in school or not, it’s important to create a financial budget before the semester starts. I’ll be honest, when I create my budget, I use it more as a guideline. Some of the things I look to include are the inevitable expenses like books, parking passes, groceries, rent, utilities, etc. and I also try to include an estimated expense for things like shopping or takeout.
Your budget needs to be personalized for you and your lifestyle. If you enjoy getting takeout often, set aside a little more money for that each month. If you walk to class rather then drive, don’t include as much money for gas.
#3: Set Yourself Up for Success & Use Available Resources
Now that you’ve prepared yourself, get ready for an exciting and chaotic semester. You’re one step closer to the finish line–graduation.
Starting the semester off right can be crucial to how it ends. Sit in the front, stay off of your phone, and talk to your professors. If you’re struggling early-on, show up to their office hours or plan a time to meet with them. They want you to succeed more than you may originally think. I can also guarantee that they will be a present and future resource to you. You can also meet with your advisor or student success point person. Their job is to help you. Ask questions. By using the available resources, you will undoubtedly put you in the position to be successful for the semester and those to come.