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What You Should Do Before Classes Get Intense

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rutgers chapter.

Fall semester has reigned upon us once again. Daunting as it may be, this time of year is inevitable and it is something we are forced to face on a yearly basis as a college student. Despite how much you prepare, it feels like there is still so much to do and so little time to do it all. However, there is always time between syllabus week and when classes start getting serious with work and exams. During that time, here are a few things you should take care of to ease any amount of pressure you may face as you prepare for the year ahead.

Talk with your roommate to avoid early and awkward tension

Whether you are rooming with a long-time friend or a random roommate, make sure you discuss the rooming situation. Even if your roommate is someone you have known since kindergarten, living with someone is a different experience. It is crucial that you both start off on the same foot—that includes room rules, what you expect, any personal preferences, and room decor. Before classes start inundating both of you with coursework, do something together. If both of you like basketball, go to the rec center and shoot around together. Go out for lunch or bubble tea. Dorming is much easier when both roommates start off the semester comfortable with each other. 

Register to vote on campus!

You can register to vote as early as you want, but make your life a bit easier and register to vote on your campus instead of applying for an absentee ballot. It is important that you vote in the election to have your own voice heard. Remember, the government serves you, so make sure the people that are serving you are the people you want! It is easier to say that you will register and change the address later on in the semester, but you will probably be inundated with coursework during the voter registration period and you can easily miss the deadline. Do it before classes start getting intense and get it over with.

Decorate your dorm

Make your dorm as comfortable as you can because, the truth is, you are going to be there a lot more than you probably want to be. For the utmost productivity, make your dorm space a comfortable spot to work. Your dorm room is the only spot on campus that really belongs to you, so make that spot worth it. Decorate it to your own liking and have it not only represent you, but make you comfortable.

Roughly plan out your semester

After the first week of class, most professors try their best outline the upcoming semester through a syllabus. Plan your semester by keeping track of exam days, midterms, finals, projects, and papers in a planner or calendar. This can help you visualize what you will be facing in the next month. Granted, it is not going to be followed perfectly, but it can help eliminate any surprises during the semester and can help you stay vigilant with your assignments.  

Speak with an advisor

Set your semester academic and career goals before your semester starts to see the path you want to take for the next four months. It’s more challenging to check if you are on the right track mid-semester, so know your goals ahead of time and create checkpoints with your advisor. Advisors can connect you with special resources you would not get elsewhere, so make an appointment with your advisor and see where your headed. 

Here are some resources at Rutgers to schedule an appointment:

School of Arts and Sciences https://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu/advising/appointment

School of Engineering https://soe.rutgers.edu/oas/advising

Mason Gross School of the Arts https://www.masongross.rutgers.edu/content/undergraduate-academic-advisors

Rutgers Business School https://myrbs.business.rutgers.edu/undergraduate-newark/meet-advisor

School of Environmental and Biological Sciences https://sebs.rutgers.edu/advising/

Start getting yourself into a routine

Personally, I am at my highest productivity when I am in a specific routine throughout the week. I have a specific time where I wake up everyday, when I work out, when I drink coffee, when I work, when I have class, and when I sleep. Setting the structure ahead of time helps avoid sluggishness. When I am in a routine, I know what to expect for my week and I can know my schedule so well that if anything hinders the flow, I can know what to do to get back on track. 

Update your resume

Have your resume ready for career fairs, mid-semester internship applications, scholarships, or winter-break jobs by updating it every few months. You likely have done something notable during summer break that you can add to your resume to make it stand out. Instead of frantically updating it hours before a deadline closes while you still have coursework to complete, have it ready to submit by completing it before your classes begin.

By having completed these seven tasks, you may feel more accomplished and relaxed. You have seven things less to worry about and you can out all of your energy into getting that 4.0 GPA.

Hey, I'm Jessie Eshak. I'm a MENA American with goals to pursue a career in film and television. My passion to the improve the poor representation of Middle-Eastern and North Africans in entertainment in front of the camera and behind it.