Second semester is here, which means a fresh start in a lot of ways! One of the biggest changes is a whole new set of classes and professors to get used to. Here are some tips that will help you to start the semester strong and set you up for success.
1. Get Prepared: Preparation is key to any major success, so start homework early to leave plenty of room for prep.
– Order Textbooks: If it is on the website or listed in the bookstore, you need it.
– Order Supplies: Think about all of your classes and make sure you have what you need. For example, for specialty classes like art you’ll need additional crafting materials. Make sure you label these with your name, because everyone else in the class will have the same things.
– Buy Stationary: I always buy new notebooks, highlighters, and colorful pens each semester to make organizing more fun. My favorite notebooks are the Cornell notebooks from Staples!
2. Utilize the Syllabus: This is your guide to the entire semester. Any questions you have can usually be answered by the syllabus.
– Highlight all important dates (due dates, exam dates, library visits etc.)
– Write all of the professor’s (and TA’s if you have one) information on a notecard. Make sure you have their office hours, email address and phone number.
– Make sure you keep all of this in a safe place! (I put this in my study binder)
3. Create a Semester Spreadsheet: Using your syllabi, create one grid for all due dates in your classed. I organize mine by class week and put the date first then the topic of class and the homework due for that class (pictured below). I also like to coordinate my classes by color.
– It helps to print two copies of this. On one, I cut each week off and put in my planner. The other one goes in my study binder.
– Looking at this will let you know that you have two exams in the same week, a bunch of readings, or a quiz and a paper due on the same day. Knowing the workload for the next few weeks will help to make budgeting your time a breeze.
4. Make a Study Binder: I take this everywhere with me. It has all of my syllabi, the current week’s notes and my semester spreadsheet.
– I use The Organized Student to get the templates to use in the binder. Using these templates, I get myself ready to study for the semester.
– I write all of the topics from the syllabi into the “Topics to Study” page then map out how I am going to study each one. (For example, flashcards = vocab; mindmaps= complex ideas)
5. Get Organized: Clean your room and make sure everything is in its place. You will feel a lot better if your desk or study space is organized.
– At the beginning of the semester, clean out your desk (no loose papers, last semester work, etc.) and wash and repack your backpack. Always make sure to have the essentials you need for class! Some of the best things to include in your bag are a package of highlighters, pencil case, tissues, cough drops and textbooks/notebooks for your first class.
6. Take Notes: Taking good notes early on will definitely set you up for semester long success.
– Whether you hand write notes or use your laptop, just make sure you take them! I prefer to use my laptop for article notes (using the side by side view) and in class notes.
– Try using a note taking method, like the Cornell note method outlined below.
Using these tips you’ll be able to start the semester off on the right foot and set yourself up for success! Always stay positive and try to stay organized! Good luck!