How to prep for a new semester

I’m so glad to finally be finished with my first semester of university, but with one gone another is next to follow. My first semester had a lot of trial-and-error moments; I tried different ways of keeping organized and different methods of studying until I found what works for me. Here are the best ways to prepare yourself for the new semester based on what I started doing last semester.

  1. 1. Create a weekly schedule

    As basic as this sounds, it will be your saviour. I was surprised to find out that so many of my friends never bothered creating a schedule and just sort of went with the flow. If organization is one of your priorities, then a schedule is definitely for you. I used Google Sheets to organize my schedule, but you can use anything that works for you. I made sure to put in all of my classes first so that I could build around it. Things you should include are: classes, meetings (clubs), study time, time to do laundry/other chores, and time after each class to fix up your notes. Maybe you even want to schedule yourself a “me-day” once a week where you can just focus on self care. Find what works for you and stick to it!

  2. 2. List your assignments and tests

    I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but READ YOUR SYLLABUS!! Make yourself a list of all of your assignments and when they are due; I also found it helpful to write next to each one how much it will be worth - this way you can focus most of your time on things that are worth more of your final mark. I recommend creating a separate list of all of your tests and exams, and put a date on when you want to start studying; don’t start studying the night before, I’ve made that mistake way too many times.

  3. 3. Set reminders on your phone

    I went into my phone calendar to set reminders for myself for when I plan to start each assignment or when I plan to start studying for each test. I also put reminders to submit the assignments on time, so I leave myself enough room in the case of any technological issues. If you’re more of a pen-and-paper person, I would suggest getting yourself an agenda planner and putting all of the same information there.

  4. 4. List all of your readings

    Last semester, I fell way too far behind in my readings because most of the time I forgot to even do them. Most professors will have a list of the required readings along with dates to complete them by in their syllabus. If this is the case, then I suggest writing them all down for each of your classes so that you have a structured way to stay on top of those readings.

  5. 5.  Save a copy of the syllabus

    This is actually a tip one of my high school teachers gave to me and I heard the suggestion repeated by a few professors as well. You should download a copy of the syllabus for each of your classes. This will help you in the event that any other professor asks what you learned in a different class. Or, if by chance you are switching schools or programs, the syllabus can help explain what you’ve already learned and can assist you when being considered for transfer credits.

  6. 6. Visit Academic Advising

    This may not be needed for everyone, but it’s still important for a few. If you’re like me and have no idea if you really want to take the courses you’re currently enrolled in (or if you’ve had thoughts about switching programs) then you should take a visit to Academic Advising. It’s better to get everything sorted out at the start of the semester instead of part way through when you hate the courses you’re in.

I hope this can help you out if you struggle with organization like I did. Best of luck in your new semester and happy new year!