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How To: Get Ahead this Semester

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

At least at the University of Delaware, this semester is going to have an interesting start. Classes are going to be online for the first week before resuming in person. At this point, online classes are nothing new but I’m interested to see how smoothly the transition from an online first week to an in-person second week will go. If you’re anxious to start the semester like me, here are some ways that you can get ahead early on.

Go Over Your Syllabus

As soon as you have access to your syllabi, I recommend going over them thoroughly (yes, not just skimming them). It’s important to read through and make note of important things like exam dates, project due dates, the date of the final, etc. It could also be a good idea to get an idea of what your professor’s absence policy and classroom policies are so you don’t put yourself in an awkward situation later in the semester. 

Set Your Schedule as Your Lock Screen 

As long as you know you’re not going to change your schedule before the first day of classes, it can be a good idea to set an image of your schedule as your lock screen. By setting your schedule as your lock screen you can begin to memorize when and where each of your classes are which can help ease anxiety on the first day. Although, I would recommend double-checking class times and locations the night before or morning of the first day just to make sure that nothing has changed. 

Get Your Textbooks and Begin Reading

If you know that you have a busy semester ahead of you or that your classes will have a lot of reading, I recommend getting your textbooks early and starting on your reading assignments. Even if you don’t have your syllabus yet and therefore don’t know exactly what readings you should complete for the first few weeks of classes, getting an understanding of the style of the textbook and the first couple chapters can be helpful. It’s typical that a professor would start with the introduction and first couple chapters anyways so it couldn’t hurt to at least read those. If you do get your textbooks early, I recommend asking about the return policy, just in case a professor announces that a book is optional – no use in spending more money if you don’t have to!

Organize Your Planner

Whether you use a physical planner or Google Calendars, it can be really helpful to make sure your planner is organized in a way that will make it easy for you to understand what’s going on in your life. If you don’t know exactly what your assignments will be, you can still add in the times of your classes, a study schedule, and any extra activities you have going on. I definitely live by my Google Calendar and find it absolutely essential to make sure that different things are color-coded accordingly. 

Create a Study Schedule or Group

If you know that you may need some work in a class to ensure that you do well, it can be really great to create a study schedule ahead of time. It also can’t hurt to create a study group early on if you already know some people in the class. By having a dedicated study group or schedule you can ease your anxiety about doing well in the class. If you don’t know anyone in the class, creating a study group will be a great way to meet new people and have someone to hold you accountable for finishing your assignments — it can also be really helpful if you miss class one day and need to borrow someone’s notes! 

It can be easy to get overwhelmed at the start of a new semester. By doing these things, you’ll hopefully have a great start to your semester!

Caitlin is a Senior at the University of Delaware. Her major is International Relations and she has minors in History, International Business, and Social Justice. When she's not writing for Her Campus you can find Caitlin running around campus (most likely with an iced coffee in hand) or with her friends.
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