It’s that time of year again ~ almost time for a new semester of school! With a new semester come new classes, new professors, a new schedule, new routines… so many new things to keep track of. That said, it’s important to start the semester off in an organized and diligent way, in order to avoid making things more chaotic and stressful for yourself down the road.
So allow me to share with you some of the things I do at the beginning of a new semester that I find most helpful, in hopes that it will help you get a great jump-start on your new semester too!
1. Buy your books on time.
Nothing makes for a more stressful start to the semester than not having your books on time ~ and therefore immediately getting behind. Always be sure to order your books well in advance (at least a week or two before classes start) to ensure that you have them on time. Then you’ll be able to begin readings and assignments right off the bat, instead of starting off the semester behind. Your semester will be off to a much more promising start that way!
2. Organize your things from last semester.
All those papers you left strewn all over your desk after finals last semester? Or all the bulging folders you never went through at the end of the year? Go through all of that stuff and organize it. Throw away anything that is no longer necessary, and hang onto anything that might be helpful or interesting down the road. Organize all your graded papers and assignments into folders, binders, or whatever you like to use (I use an accordion file, with a slot allocated for each class). Then voila: your desk will be clear and your folders empty, ready for a new semester’s worth of stuff!
3. Fill out your planner ahead of time.
4. Highlight key information on your syllabi.
On the first day of classes, take some time after each class to read through the syllabus thoroughly. Highlight or mark all the most important information: when your professor’s office hours are, the due dates for papers and assignments, exam dates, etc. (Then go write those important dates in your planner!) Then you’ll have a basic grasp of the outline and direction of the course, which will allow you to better anticipate deadlines, and also give you a head start on making the most of the class.
5. Introduce yourself to your professors.
Take a minute after each first class to introduce yourself to your new professor. This will allow the professor to put a face to your name, as well as get a good first impression of you as his new student. It will also get you off on the right foot in terms of forming a good relationship with your professor. These things will only lead to a better experience in the class.