Essential Tips to Help You Start the Semester off Right

Preparing for a new term can sometimes feel like a daunting task, and when it’s a summer semester that you’re gearing up for, it can be particularly difficult to find the motivation to get organized when you’d rather be anywhere else than back at school. On the flip side, summer can be the perfect time to give your GPA an extra boost. Campus is generally much quieter, and there are fewer distractions to pull you away from your schoolwork, as most extra curricular clubs and social organizations go on hiatus. With a little extra planning, you can ensure that you start off on the right foot and might just find that your summer semester is your most productive yet.

Write down a list of all important due dates

It might seem tedious to copy down every date from the syllabus, but you’ll thank yourself for it later. It’s a good idea to invest in a sturdy planner, so that you can easily recall important dates on-the-go. Getting into the habit of using a planner to organize all of your academic and personal commitments will help you to manage your time effectively and keep on top of what needs to get done.

Set goals for yourself, and put them in writing 

Think carefully about what you want to accomplish in each of your new classes, then make a list of specific steps you can take to bring your goals to fruition. Write your goals down so that you can reference them later and monitor your progress, and be sure to keep the S.M.A.R.T framework (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) in mind.

Introduce yourself to your professors 

One of the best things you can do to set yourself up for a strong semester is to drop by your professor’s office hours during the first few weeks of the term. By introducing yourself, they can put a face to your name and pick you out of what might be a large lecture full of students. They’ll admire the fact that you’re taking their class seriously, and will likely be more inclined to offer extra help should you need it later on.

Settle into a healthy sleep schedule 

The key to getting enough sleep is to establish a routine. Many students fall into the trap of staying up late to cram for tests and finish last minute assignments, but with effective time management this should rarely be necessary. Studies show that young adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night for their brains to function optimally, so it’s no surprise that there’s a link between the amount of sleep that students get and academic performance. Setting a reasonable bed time for yourself at the beginning of the semester will make it easier for your body to adjust to those early morning lectures, and your grades will thank you for it.

De-clutter your digital spaces 

As you get organized for the new semester, don’t forget to reset digitally as well. Clean up your desktop, and trash old assignments and notes that you no longer need (keep anything that might help you in further courses, though!). A good strategy to keep your schoolwork organized on your computer is to create a file for each of your courses that you can divide into class notes, reviews, assignments, and helpful websites and documents that you often refer to. If you have a digital copy of your text book, this is a great spot to put that too, so you can access everything you need for each course with a quick click of a mouse.

If you can remember to do these five easy things at the beginning of the semester before your workload piles up, you’re sure to save yourself from unnecessary stress, headache and sleepless nights. Best of luck with the summer semester, 939ers!


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