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

Does starting the new semester cause anxiety? You’re not alone. Many college students experience doubt, pressure, and nervousness during the first few weeks of the new school year. This is totally normal! Here are some tips to help you adjust to your new semester and ensure you’re starting the year right!

1 Figure Out Where All of Your Classes are

Nothing is worse than walking into class late on the first day. Make time to see exactly where each class is. Look at your schedule, locate the building and room number, and make your way there before the first day of school. If you have a full day of back-to-back classes, do a mock run of how long it’ll take you to get to each classroom. If you cannot get to campus before school starts, pull up a picture of your campus map to familiarize yourself with all the buildings. 

2 Meet Up with Friends

Meeting up with your besties can be difficult once the semester begins, be sure to hang out once more before the classes, coursework, and deadlines take up your time. Spend the day together, cherish your fabulous friends, and constantly remind each other that you’re only one text away. 

3 Get Involved

During the first weeks of school, take the time to walk around your campus between classes and find those clubs, sororities/fraternities, and other organizations that are out tabling. There’s something for everyone on campus. Stop by the tables, talk to some folks, and find something to get involved in. 

4 Read the Syllabus

The syllabus is always the first thing professors discuss during week one. If your professor emails it to you before classes start, read over it to get a more in-depth idea of what you’ll be getting into with the course. The syllabus is an excellent source for finding out if you will need to buy, rent, or download a textbook. You’ll also get an idea about major assignments, deadlines, and overall expectations of the class. Reading the syllabus ahead of time can ease any lingering anxiety about what to expect for your course load.

5 Email Your Professors

While reading the syllabus, your professor should have their contact info listed typically at the beginning or the end. Take the initiative and introduce yourself before class even starts. Give them your name, major/minor, and what you’re most excited about in the class. This would also be a great time to ask any questions you may have. Be sure to end the email with “I look forward to officially meeting you.” This is a great way to establish a connection with your professor and will ease the burden of fearing that you may go unnoticed in class. 

6 Start A Planner

A planner is an outstanding tool for organization. Writing in a planner will help you keep up with important deadlines, events, goals, and schedules. Using different color pens for your planner can also help those who value organization through color coordination. Plus, it’s cute!

7 Establish Self-Care Routine

There will be times in the semester when you’ve completed all your homework early, pulled an all-nighter, or had a bad day. Whatever the case, you need to have some self-care ready. Self-care looks different for everyone. For some, it could be binge-watching your favorite show, creating a face/hair mask, or catching up on some much-needed sleep. There’s no need to sugarcoat it, college can be stressful. Having your self-care routine ready will be very rewarding during those challenging times.

8 Start Your School-Life Balance

After the first few weeks of classes, managing your balance between your school (Classes, sports, extracurriculars) and your life (Work, family, self) is essential. Dedicate a certain amount of days strictly to school and those remaining days for your life. Communicate with your peers that you will be unavailable on certain days. Discuss with your family and friends that they have to respect those days you are busy with school. Set your boundaries early, or you’ll experience burnout. 

9 Get Some Sleep

All college students need more sleep, so ensure that when you’re winding down for the night, you’re putting away your phone an hour before bed. Ideally, rest in a cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable space getting around 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

10 Breathe

When you get into the semester’s groove, always take a moment to breathe. Recognize where you’re at, what you’re doing, and where completing these four years will end up taking you. It’s perfectly normal to question what you’re doing, and what’s important is that you’re learning and growing from the experience.

Starr Washington is a member of the Her Campus National Writer Program, contributing to the lifestyle vertical. She also serves as the President of the Her Campus Chapter at her university. Currently a senior at San Francisco State University, Starr is pursuing a degree in Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) with a minor in Africana Studies. Following her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing. Starr is dedicated to showcasing her blackness in her professional work and is always rooting for black creatives, particularly in film, literature, and travel. In addition to her writing, Starr works at her university’s multicultural center, where she organizes annual events for both the campus and the Bay Area community. She was a speaker at the San Francisco State University Black Studies Origins and Legacy Commemoration, where she had the honor of sitting alongside the founders of the country's first Black Student Union. Starr teaches a course she developed called “Intro to Black Love” within SFSU’s experimental college program. In her rare free time, Starr enjoys chipping away at her TBR list (she finishes one book, then adds three more to the list), writing poetry and fiction, and spending time with her music enthusiast partner and their three-year-old German Shepherd. She is a Scorpio from Michigan.