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How to start the semester off strong

Using a planner is a great way to keep track of assignments and other obligations. Photo by Adelia Henderson.
Using a planner is a great way to keep track of assignments and other obligations. Photo by Adelia Henderson.

Ready or not, the beginning of fall semester is here! By now you’ve (hopefully) figured out where your classes are located, ordered your textbooks and are working on fixing your sleeping schedule.

While the first week of classes may seem easy, it’s never too early to prepare yourself for what the semester will bring, so here are some ways to start off your semester strong.

Get organized

Tips about organization in college may sound cliché, but it really is true - staying organized, especially with classwork, is crucial for success! Choose a central place to write down all of your assignments, exams and essays, along with any club meetings, social events and other obligations. Google Calendar is also a great option if you prefer an online planner over paper.

If you have a recurring assignment, like weekly quizzes or discussion questions, set a repeat reminder or alarm on your phone so you never forget.

Settle into a routine

The fall semester can be tough to transition into, as you have to get used to being back in school with a whole new schedule. Creating a routine (and sticking to it!) will help you adjust to being back on campus.

Try going to bed around the same time during the week, and even if you can sleep in some mornings, try getting up roughly around the same time, too. Also, delegating a daily time block of a couple hours for homework will cut down on late nights spent making up for procrastination!

Make at least one friend in every class

Having a friend or two in each class will pay off in multiple ways. Besides seeing a familiar face, they’ll help you out through group note-taking, study sessions, reviewing your work and more.

More than likely, you’ll also end up missing classes due to sickness or something unplanned. Your friends can fill you in on what you missed and provide you with notes. Utilizing your peers is one of the best ways to succeed, and you’ll both thank each other in the long run!

Think one step ahead

As college students, it can be hard to think about what you’ll be doing later in the day, much less the next few weeks. But trying to strategize about your coursework will pay off later on as it’ll allow you to focus on the big picture.

Thinking ahead will make sure deadlines and exams don’t creep up on you, and will make big assignments seem more manageable. It’ll also save you some stress and worry over the course of the semester.

Syllabus week may have you feeling more productive than usual, but hopefully, these tips will help you get ahead before the harder classwork sets in. The semester is just beginning, so you have plenty of time to make it yours. Good luck!


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