No matter what you are studying this semester, the below applies. Starting your semester off with your best foot forward is essential. After completing 12 semesters post-high-school, I have been able to develop a checklist to ensure I start my first week off smoothly.
Below are my 6 tips to help you start your new semester off successfully.
Clean your space
Your study space, no matter where it needs to be clean and organised. If you are sitting in between piles of paperwork and junk your brain will feel messy.
The cleaner your space, the cleaner your mind.
During holiday breaks I tend to end up using my desk as a dumping ground for random things. At least one week out from the semester, I start clearing it all down and give it a thorough clean.
If you study at the library, you should try to have a clean, organised space where you store your books at home. You can find affordable little bookcases you can tuck away to keep your books safe. If you just throw everything on the floor when you get home from college/university/high school you will have trouble finding things you need later on.
Purchase textbooks, programs and stationary you will need for the semester
All courses require different bits and pieces to be purchased before the course starts. When I was studying statistics I needed a special calculator. I was lucky and purchased mine prior to the semester starting but a number of friends in my class had to wait a few weeks to get there’s because so many people went and bought them first week back.
There will be somewhere online where you can find out what textbooks and resources you need to purchase. The earlier you know what you need to buy, the sooner you can start looking at second-hand sellers if the textbook hasn’t changed from last semester. You can save a lot of money buying your books second-hand. Check out gumtree, eBay and Facebook pages.
Look at when and where your classes are
The earlier you can find out when your classes are, the sooner you can get your schedule for the semester in place.
Everyone’s study commitments are different. For example, when I was at uni I had 16 hours of face to face classes, compared to CPA where I had a one hour webinar each week. Once you know when you will be occupied with your classes you can plan out the rest of your life a little better. You will be able to organise shifts at work, childcare and sporting commitments before the semester starts.
Some campuses are humongous!
Knowing where you need to go can make week one a little less stressful. It’s horrible being the person walking into a lecture ten minutes late with a hundred and something people staring at you. To avoid this embarrassing moment, sit down a few days before you start the semester and map out where your classes are and how you are going to get there.
Get a study planner
I have tried many different versions of study planners. You could say I am a little obsessed with organising my time when I am studying. There is a study planner for all budgets.
There are many different options for study planners such as:
– physical calendar
– study diary
– some pieces of paper.
For the past few semesters, I was rocking two study planners. This may seem over the top but they both had different purposes. I would use my Kikki K study planner to write down exactly what I wanted to get done and carry this around with any modules I had to read. When I completed the task I could highlight it so I know it was completed. I love that feeling of ticking something off. On my computer, I would use excel. I created my own study planner where I had a tab for each week. Each week had a table from Monday to Sunday, 6am until 10pm. This is where I planned out how many hours of study I wanted/could get done and create a plan for the week. This planner would include all my plans for the week, not just study commitments.
You can download a printable version of this planner for free here.
Each year Kikki K bring out a new style but the content is always pretty similar. You can find this years here.
This may be a little nerdy to admit but I always try to start reading text books before the semester starts. You don’t have to read the text-book front to back in a week. You can slowly read it over if you are organised enough and get your books early.
At least read the first module/chapter before your first classes.
By giving yourself this little head start you will reduce your chances of falling behind during the semester.
Enjoy your free time before the semester begins
Since your free time is about to be taken over significantly with studying, before the semester starts make sure you have some fun.
Read that book you wanted to read, go to the movies with your friends, have some date nights.
I hope you all start your semester off the right way and get the results you want.