I’m always excited to start a new semester. I love new beginnings, fresh starts, and that’s everything a new semester is!
So today, I’m sharing 8 ways to kick off the semester right to ensure that your semester rocks!
GO TO CLASS!
That’s probably the biggest mistake college students make. How do you expect to learn anything (or to pass your exams, for that matter) if you don’t even show up to class? Every class matters. Yes, I know that sometimes you just won’t feel like it. You’re going to be tired and you’ll be thinking “I can miss a class…”. But trust me when I say that teachers take note when you’re absent, and that can impact your grade. Some teachers don’t really care, but I know from experience that a lot of teachers do. Even if it doesn’t have an impact on your grade, it can influence the relationship you have with them. They might not be as willing to answer your questions if you don’t bother showing up to class, especially if the subject was covered!
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that syllabus week is not important. Wrong! I will go as far as saying that it’s probably the most important week of the semester. Why? Because not only are professors giving you an overview of what is going to be covered during the semester, but they are likely to give you tips for how to succeed in their class! They’ll normally cover the subject of exams and how they grade, which can help you study later! Teachers can also present the assignments for the semester… and sometimes that’ll be the only time they talk about it!
I don’t know how it’s done in the States, but in Quebec, teachers normally start teaching during the first class. We already cover some of the content that is going to be seen during the semester. So make sure you show up!
START WORKING EARLY
I know it can be easy to fall into the procrastination cycle (trust me – been there, done that), especially at the beginning of the semester because it seems like there’s not much to do. Try to work hard from the beginning of the semester! Not only will that help build a great habit that will be truly helpful throughout the rest of your semester (and college years), but you will be thankful when you reach a busier time of your semester (let’s say finals or midterms)! Trying to catch up on your homework or reading when you have a hundred other things to do can be torture (then again – been there, done that). So, instead of cramming at the end of the semester, start working while you have some extra time on your hands!
SET GOALS FOR THE SEMESTER
I work by goals. What does that mean? That means that, unless I set myself a goal, I feel like I have no purpose. It might not be the same for you, but goals can help you determine what you expect from this new semester.
Every semester, I like to set myself a few goals. They don’t all have to be college-related, but setting goals helps you focus on what’s important to you. It helps motivate you when you’ve lost your spark, it helps remind you what you’re aiming for, and it’s so satisfying when you reach them by the end of the semester!
Writing your goals down will help you reach them. How? Well, how do you expect to reach your goals if you don’t even remember them? You might remember them during the first week of the semester, but as the weeks go by, you might start forgetting them. I personally have a small notebook in which I write my goals for the month, and for the semester. You could print them out, have a running list of goals that you always keep on your desk, you can have them in the “notes” section of your phone… there are so many options! Find a way that works for you, and stick to it! Just make sure your goals are visible. This way, every once in a while, whenever you feel like you have no motivation, you can always go back to them.
HOW DO I SET GOALS?
I always start by reflecting on the past semester. What did I want to accomplish? Why didn’t it work? If I think a goal I had last semester could be applied to this new one, I write it down.
Then, I go through every aspect of my life and see what I want to change. Do I get enough sleep? Exercise enough? Do I want to make more money? I write down things I want to work on, improve or simply maintain.
I normally wait until after syllabus week to write down my college-related goals. Since I’ll already have a pretty good idea of what my semester is going to look like by then, it makes it easier to set realistic goals.
If there’s one thing you should remember, it’s that your goals should be specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based. The SMART method definitely helps setting goals that you’ll be able to reach!
GET YOUR SUPPLIES AND TEXTBOOKS EARLY
As a college blogger, I love back-to-school shopping. But, for me, it started even before that. I’ve always loved buying school supplies, even when I was in elementary school. It always makes me excited to start the school year.
I suggest you start buying your basic school supplies before the semester even starts. Get pencils, pens, highlighters, notebooks and all of those must-haves before your first week. There are things you’ll always need, no matter what classes you take. Get those things before the semester starts! Like this, you’ll only need a few extra supplies and your textbooks once the semester has begun.
Textbooks are an entire thing completely. Things in the US are very different from things in Quebec (from what I’ve read online), so I’m not here to give you tips on how to buy your textbooks cheaply. There are plenty of posts about that in the college blogging community!
What I think you should know is: buy your textbooks as soon as possible. Some teachers might make their syllabus available online before the semester starts. If that’s your case, quickly skim over it and see what textbooks are required! It’ll give you an idea of how much money you’ll need to spend, and you can start making a budget. Don’t buy them before your first class! Some professors list books that you might want to read to get extra information about what has been covered in class, and some professors will not even use the textbooks at all! So wait until after your first class to buy them. Some of the books you’ll need might be available at the library, so if you don’t want to splurge, that can definitely be one of your options!
Declutter your space! Clean up your desk, get rid of old papers and notes that you won’t need anymore, clean up your room, your closet… declutter your life! I like to start fresh every semester, and while I hate cleaning up, there’s nothing that frees my mind more and makes me feel better than a fresh, clean space. Trust me, you’ll feel better and you’ll be ready to take on the new semester!
It’s also a motivator when it comes to doing homework or studying. Having a clean space will make you want to study more, and you’ll feel more motivated.
USE YOUR PLANNER
As any college blogger, I swear by my planner. My entire life is in there. I’d be lost without it. As a college student, you ought to be organized, one way or another. Maybe you use Google calendar, a bullet journal, or a traditional planner. What matters it that you find an organization system that works for you, and that you make the best out of it.
Get organized as soon as possible! Write down all of the dates from your syllabi into your planner. If you have joined any clubs, write the meeting dates down. Create a schedule that works for you. You want to make sure you use your planner (or whatever else you’re using) as soon as the semester begins so you don’t get lost and confused throughout the semester. Try different systems out if you’re not too sure how to get organized and play around with them a little. As soon as you figured out what works out for you, stick to it! Trust me, you’ll be thankful for your planner once you hit a busier time of your semester.
Kick off the new semester with the right attitude! Think that you can achieve all of your goals, that you’ll have a great semester and that you’ll be successful… and that’ll happen! I’m not saying that your attitude will get you the grades you want or the internship of your dreams, but it’ll definitely help you get there! Believe you can do anything can happen, and you’ll break down walls!
What are your favorite ways to kick off the semester?