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1. Read the syllabus’ thoroughly:

In order to get a ‘leg up’ in any of your courses this year, you should consider reading the syllabus assigned by your professors in a detailed manner. When reading how the course is going to be approached, and how to be successful in that course, it can most often provide some kind of security, especially in these confusing times of remote learning.

2. Reflection period: 

Each student has a different ‘reflection’ process. However, we can all agree that a reflection should establish some kind of learning from past experiences. This statement relates to syllabus week because I believe that past study experiences can serve as a tool for self-improvement. You can identify just a couple of things you wish you could have done differently the previous semester, even if you are a freshman, and you are already on the right track for making this upcoming semester better than the last one. If you are committed to following through with the academic changes you establish for yourself, they will help you in your self-improvement journey. 

3. Create a ‘routine’ schedule: 

Aside from your class schedule, try to make a schedule that combines your academics with leisure and/or physical exercises. The process of planning ahead by itself already helps with anxiety in general, so if you are able to accommodate everything you need to do for that week in a ‘general schedule’, you are already mentally alleviating stress, while planning to manage your time efficiently. This schedule is best established during syllabus week because this is usually the period where students most focus on their academic schedule, while also allocating space for ‘free time’ or work. 

4. Acquire your class textbooks:

I’ve noticed that some students tend to purchase or rent their textbooks for class only when they feel they need to. However, delaying the access to these study materials might not have the financial benefit you might think it does. Students tend to delay their textbook acquisition because books are expensive and sometimes, we don’t even use them. Despite this, since the most common way to retain information is through reading, most teachers still insist that students should purchase the ‘required’ textbook displayed on the syllabus. The importance of getting all your textbooks during syllabus weeks stems from the fact that the longer you wait, the more expensive or even unavailable the specific book might get. In order to avoid spending those extra bucks, make sure to purchase or rent your books as soon as possible, especially since these rules apply to both e-books and paperbacks. 

5. Start completing the academic ‘to-do’s’:

Some teachers are already assigning some readings, technology set-ups, or even homework for most us; especially since the semester had to start a bit later this year. Even though each student completes their course work at their self-designated time, I believe that syllabus week has a unique advantage when it comes to getting class tasks done. We don’t have real content to study yet, but we still have some extra time to familiarize ourselves with what we will be focusing on for the specific course we were assigned work for. So, make sure you get everything done ahead of time and planned throughout. This way, you can alleviate headaches while setting yourself up for a successful and enjoyable semester.

I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am a senior at Michigan State University, Political Science-Prelaw major; and I intend to go to law school after graduating from MSU.
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