The new semester is here! For some it’s our last semester of college ever (!!!) and for some it’s their first. Whether a senior or a freshman, it’s never too late to learn how to set yourself up for success in the new semester. Today I am going to share with you my favorite ways to prepare myself for the new classes and schedules each semester brings. Many of these tips can even be used in everyday and work life! What are your favorite tips for getting back in the school groove?
- Make an assignment calendar: I found this pin years ago and decided to give it a go the next semester. Wow does it work wonders! After the first week of classes I gather all my syllabi and put assignments in due date order on a spreadsheet. I print mine out and put it somewhere highly visible so that I see it every morning and night. I color code it for midterms, finals, papers and projects so I never miss a thing. We all know that professors will change things around mid-semester, so I also keep the Excel spreadsheet up on my laptop so I can make changes and check it while out on campus. An added bonus is that I get to mark through a submitted assignment. Nothing is more satisfying than that!
- Get one notebook: When preparing for college I just assumed I would need a binder for every class like I did in high school. Ahhh freshmen…By my sophomore year I figured out that it is most convenient (and lightest) to use this Five Star 5 subject notebook/binder hybrid. It’s perfect for 5 classes (i.e. 15 hours) because it is divided by tabs (easy labeling), has pockets for each section (home sweet home for my syllabi), and has college ruled notebook paper for each section. I never leave it out of my backpack and it is easy grab and go with a textbook and laptop.
- Clean out!: It’s amazing what you can accumulate in a semester, so start off a new one with some spring cleaning. I clean out my backpack, toss dried out pens, sell old textbooks, clean out my email inbox (unsubscribe, please!), and delete any un-needed files from my laptop. It helps me feel more in control of the semester already.
- Speaking of files…: In my documents I make a folder for the new semester (i.e. Spring 2017). In that folder I have folders for each class. I keep my typed notes for that class and digital copies of documents (syllabi, grading rubrics, slides, etc.) that I think I will need. Normally they can be accessed online on Desire2Learn, but sometimes Wifi will let you down! Not only is it good organization, but it is good back up.
- Have some sort of planner or schedule: I am not a planner person. Surprising, right? It’s a pain to write it down when I can just remember it in my mind. One semester I caved and used a planner religiously. I was on Exec for OU’s Homecoming Week and I was taking the hardest class in my major this semester. So if I forgot something, the consequences of a brain fart were too big to risk. If you like planners, get one. If you don’t, use the assignment calendar or make a semester wide schedule. On Excel I lay out one week Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight. I insert recurring commitments like class, work, exercise, etc. It’s helpful to put somewhere visible so I can just glance at it and see when I’m busy and when I’m free (to go grocery shopping).
- Schedule “me time”: The start of a semester is like a mini-life crisis because it is so overwhelming. At the beginning of the semester and every week after, schedule a little “me time” to decompress. Paint your nails (or go get them done!), go for a walk, grab coffee (or something stronger) with a friend, or read a book. Just set out some bit of time to do something you enjoy. Taking care of yourself will make you so much more productive!
- Find a study spot: Scout out some great places on campus or around town to do some really good studying. I can just study on my bed nine times out of ten, but when I’m really buckling down I know where I’m going to go study. My roommate loves to study at the same spot and she’s actually the one who introduced me to this study space. It helps that she goes there often, so I have a buddy if I ever want to study somewhere that has a lot fewer distractions than my room.
- Put your professors email addresses in VIP: Ever arrived to class only to find out that it’s cancelled? If you had your professors’ emails set as VIP, you could have still been in bed! On a MacBook, you can go to your mail and click the down arrow next to a person’s name who emailed you and click add to VIP. Doing this will mean you get a text-like notification when they email you and they are added to a special VIP mailbox, which conveniently keeps all your important emails together in one place.
Best of luck in the new semester!
Holly Hoehner is a public relations senior at the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.