We’re still in the first few weeks of the semester, so our workloads for the most part haven’t yet reached their typical level of intensity. While we have a little time on our hands, here are some ways you can prepare yourself now to hopefully better handle the coming semester.
Make a schedule
Obviously you already have a class schedule, but that only tells you when you need to be in lectures and recitations. It’s up to you to figure out when to do your homework, eat meals, get some sleep, attend club meetings, and hang out with your friends. Putting some of these activities into a schedule can help you stay on top of everything. Personally I prefer written schedules, but there are also lots of free apps and things you can use, like Google Calendar, Calendar+, Planner Pro, and TimeTune.
Get your courses in order
Yes, syllabi are boring, but spending a little time actually looking though them can be a big help. Make note of exam or project deadlines and familiarize yourself with homework schedules and policies. Knowing what to expect from a course can make it a bit easier to handle. Make sure you also have the appropriate supplies (notebooks, pencils, calculators, etc) so you’ll be prepared every time you walk into class.
Figure out how you’re going to feed yourself
Having some rudimentary ideas for meals and snacks can be a big timesaver. If you’re on a meal plan you shouldn’t have much to worry about for meals, but it’s always important to think about snacks. If you have some rough food plans, even if it’s something simple, you won’t have to waste as much time debating what or where to eat. Thinking about your food ahead of time is also a good way to add variety, in case you get tired of the same Ramen every night. Plus, a favorite meal can be a nice thing to look forward to throughout the day.
Learn from last semester
Spend a little time looking back on how your last semester went. Nothing existential, just some basics: what worked well and how can you keep doing that? What’s something you maybe want to change or improve? What was the hardest thing for you, and how could you handle it better if it happens again? Learn what you can from last semester, then take advantage of the new opportunities in this new one.
Find your fun
Whether it’s participating in a club, having a night out with friends, or staying in to watch Netflix, make sure you always work some fun activities and chances to relax into your semester. Life is about more than classes and grades, even if it’s hard to believe that in the heat of impending deadlines. Taking breaks from academia gives you a chance to reset and remember that there’s a whole world beyond your campus boundaries.
Good luck in the new semester!