10 ways to prepare for a new semester
Going back to school needs preparation. It doesn’t matter whether you are in High School, University, College or your studying online. By following the 10 tips below, you will ensure that your first week runs smoothly which will flow through for the entire semester.
Clean out your study space
I cannot stress how important it is to have a clean study space.
Having a cluttered workspace can kill your concentration and motivation. If your desk is piled up with sticky notes, books, papers, mugs and stationery, it’s harder to find things when you need them. When your desk is a mess, you will be less motivated to study because you have nowhere to do it.
Give yourself a day to give your study area a deep clean. If your desk isn’t in your bedroom, it wouldn’t hurt to give your sleeping area a good clean too. You need to have a clean space to help you have a clean mind.
Starting the semester with a clean, organised workspace is the first step in getting yourself prepared for the semester ahead.
Work out your time table
Every college, university, high school, online provider have their own way of scheduling classes. Make sure you are aware of the dates and how you sign up for the classes you want to take.
You may not have an option which sorta makes things easier because you don’t have to sign up to anything. The negative however is that you don’t get an option of when you’re taking the class, lecture or webinar. This isn’t ideal if you have other commitments you need to manage you’re schooling around.
If you do have the option to choose certain times, make sure you have a plan of attack. Think about the times that would work best for you and write them down. Make sure you logon to your school’s scheduling system as soon as it opens to give yourself the best chance of getting the times you want.
I remember being at University and some classes would fill up within an hour so make sure you have a reminder in your diary or phone.
Find out where your classes are
You might think this is an obvious thing to do however you would be shocked by how many people would walk into lectures late week one with the excuse that they didn’t know where the class was.
Some Universities/Colleges are massive. They may even be spread over multiple locations. Its important to check out where your classes are and how you’re going to get there.
If your classes are spread out over the campus, it might be a good idea to print a little map out and highlight where they are and stick it in your planner.
Purchase all your supplies & textbooks
Before you run off to the stores and start swiping your card, find out what exactly you need to buy by looking at your subject guide and take stock of things you may already have around the house. There is no need to spend money on another 5 notebooks when you have a couple under your bed that you barely touched last semester.
If you had notebooks from last semester that you only wrote on a few pages, simply tear out the pages you already used and boom! New notebook. This isn’t only great for your wallet but for the environment too.
Depending on what your studying and where you live, you may have a couple of options for textbooks.
If you require a physical textbook, make sure to find out whether its a new edition or the same one from previous years. If it’s not a new edition, check out Facebook Market Place, Gumtree, eBay, Amazon and the school’s second-hand book sales. Normally you will be able to get the same textbook much cheaper.
As we are moving to a more digital era, many textbooks are downloadable. There may be a cost to this or if your lucky it will be included in your fees. If you struggle to read from a screen, or you prefer to read and take notes on the same piece of paper, you may be able to download and print the textbook at home. This was the case with CPA and it made it much easier. I was able to carry one module around at a time to read in comparison to carrying the massive A4 textbook.
Find and review the syllabus for each subject
If your professors have already posted the syllabus online, check them out and see what each class will involve this semester. Some classes may require massive amounts of reading so it will be a huge help if you can get a start on as much reading as possible.
The syllabus also informs you about the ways you will be graded. This could be made up of assignments, exams or attendance for example. Note all of these dates down in your calendar/planner.
Get a planner
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
You need to have a planner when your studying, it’s a necessity. There are so many important dates to remember such as class times, assignment due dates, exam dates and practical experience times. By having somewhere to write them all down (either physically or digitally) you will be able to plan your life around your study.
You obviously don’t want to book a holiday and then realise its in the middle of exam week so always make sure to get as many dates in your planner or calendar as soon as possible.
It’s a good idea to make a general schedule for yourself so you can have an idea of how you’ll be spending most of your time for the semester. Of course, things will change but having a general idea will help you feel less overwhelmed.
Set some goals
What is success to you? What do you want to achieve?
Think of all the goals you want to work on, and then write them down. It’s important to get your goals on paper, stuck on your vision board or in the notes on your phone. Firstly, this is important so you don’t forget them and secondly, you can reflect on them at the end of the semester or year.
You don’t need to think of 100 things. They could be things like getting a certain mark, attending a certain percentage of classes or learning a new skill.
Let people know your time table
Now that you know your timetable its important to let everyone who it may affect know.
This could include your workplace, family and friends. It’s respectful to give your employer as much notice as possible if your timetable is going to affect your work schedule.
Clean your computer
Now I don’t mean wipe it down with a disinfectant cloth, however, that’s not a bad idea either.
Depending on how long you have had your computer, you could have years worth of old/useless study materials saved on your desktop. You may have an amazing computer with a huge hard drive and all of these unsued documents may not affect your storage which is great but they can still be an issue.
Similar to having a clean study space, having a clean computer can make you feel less overwhelmed. The anxiety I get when I see someone who has their entire desktop filled with documents is unbearable. Everything should be in a neat home that makes it easier to locate.
Having a cull before the semester is a really smart idea.
Start getting enough sleep and waking up early
If you have been on a break from classes for a few weeks or months, your daily routine may have changed a little. During the school year, you might have 8am classes but when you’re on break you might work a night job so you don’t get out of bed until 10am.
It’s important to start adjusting your body and mind back to your school routine before the first week of classes. Going from 10am wake ups to 6am all at once can be a lot and you will probably end up crashing at 3pm each day, crying out for a nap.
The week before you head back to school, start getting up earlier and earlier each day and getting yourself back in to a good routine. This includes making sure you get a good night’s sleep.
If you want to check out some really great research on the benefits of waking up early click here. Mia explains why a morning routine is essential and how you can create one that works for you. Her article noted that “research conducted by Texas University found that students who consistently woke up early each day actually scored better test scores and overall grade points, in comparison to those who slept in all the time”.
As much as we all love a sleep in, its best to save them for your holidays.
To read all my tips on how to get up early and study successfully click here.
If you have any other tips that you do before each semester I would love to hear about them in the comments.
Happy studying hustlers!