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How to Start the School Year off Right

By now, you are just starting classes and might be a little bit stressed about what awaits. You’re probably excited to be back at school but might be nervous about what being back entails! Although I went through a tough semester last year (thank you, Calc II), I learned a lot of lessons about how to start the new semester off on the right foot. Here are a few:


1. Read your syllabus!

My mom will be proud if she sees this one! It might seem obvious to do this, but I think we would all be lying if we never skimmed over a syllabus and just said we read it. Although they can be tedious to read through, syllabi will tell you what books and supplies you need for your class, how grades are weighted and calculated, course policies, how to earn extra credit, and more. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity for a grade boost because you missed it in the syllabus!


2. Structure your day 

Something that always helps me to focus and complete assignments on time is to have activities other than classes to space out my day. I am on the swim team here, and my GPA was actually higher in season because I could structure my homework schedule around swim practice. Even if you are not on a sports team, an intramural or club can help you structure your day!


3. Utilize office hours

Office hours are a hack for tips from your professor! When I was struggling in Calc II last semester, I was at my professor’s office at least once a week to ask for advice with concepts I was struggling with. I always seemed to leave feeling a little better about the confusing subject (shoutout to my math majors, I don’t know how you do it). You might be afraid that you are pestering your professors, but they like seeing students take an interest in course materials. Additionally, professors might drop hints about what is going to be on upcoming tests and quizzes and attending office hours allows you to establish a better relationship with them. Going to office hours or even just talking to your professors after class will allow you to start making connections with them. 


4. Keep track of your assignments

Whenever I am struggling with a load of assignments, it helps me to write down and keep track of what these assignments are! If you have not already, buy an agenda book or download a planner app (or just use the plain old notes app on your phone) and start keeping track of assignments, assessment dates, and any other commitments you may have.


5. Decide what you want to do

Set goals for this semester! Whether you want to get a 4.0,  an “A” in a certain class, or raise your cumulative GPA, there is no reason you cannot achieve your goals if you find out what you need to do to get there and put a plan in place. 


Although school can be stressful, the best way to ensure a good semester is to start off on the right foot! Good luck, and go get that 4.0!


Grace Pasco

Lafayette '22

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