As we approach the new semester, I thought I’d share some tips to help you get off to a good start!
Before the Semester starts
Routine - Try to stick to a morning and evening routine. If possible, set out your clothes, pack your backpack, and pack your lunch the night before. If you’re not someone who does things the night before, develop a system for making things run smoothly in the morning.
I personally don’t pack my backpack the night before. I make a checklist of everything that needs to go into my bag on the Iphone reminders app. Every morning, just check or uncheck everything that’s on your list. This is a quick way to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Organize - I don’t just mean tidy up, but really organize! Take the time to get your desk, bookshelves, room, and bathroom just how you want it. Declutter by getting rid of the things you don’t need. Dust all your surfaces and clean your sheets. If you have time, go through your computer and delete unnecessary files that are slowing it down. Once the new semester starts you will have a clean working and living space and you can stress a little less!
Find a study space that works for you - Experiment with a few different combinations to find what works for you. Desk or floor? snacks and drinks? Candles or incense? Music or no music? Windows open? Having the perfect study spot can make all the difference.
Get all your supplies together - Pick out pens, pencils, notebooks, and a bag that’s functional for you. Invest in a good thermos, water bottle, and lunch containers. (Discount stores and dollar stores are a great spot to shop for these things on a budget!) I try to wait until the first day of my class before buying textbooks so I can see which ones I actually need and the cheapest option for obtaining them.
Once the semester starts
Syllabus - The first few days of school when you don’t really have any homework, go through your syllabi! I don’t just mean read through them once and call it good! Take notes on your syllabi like you would with any other important subject and put the notes at the beginning of your notebook/folder for that class.
Textbooks – Once you find out which books you really need look for downloadable pdfs or people in your class who have the pdf, chances are they don’t mind sharing. Professors also sometimes have a pdf of the book that they will give you if they’re on the nicer side haha.
Make friends in your class - This will save your ass!!! Having a couple people to text if you’re absent or wondering which chapters are going to be on the test is super helpful! You usually end up making friends with the people who sit right next to you so if you want on the first day of class (go ahead and be a little judging a book by its cover) sit by people you think you’d like to be friends with if you saw them outside of school. This helps make it easier to strike up conversations and become study buddies, share notes, phone numbers, etc.
Find your spot - It’s important to have a spot on campus where you feel comfortable studying. It doesn’t have to be the library, take some time to explore areas of your campus you didn’t even know existed!
Study every day - Even if it’s just for five minutes try to study every day! Make your own study guides by writing down vocab words and key points that you can add to as you go.
PREREADING- Chapter pre-reading is your best friend! Make a reading schedule to make sure you have covered each topic before the lecture about it. I know this can be tedious, it’s what I struggle with the most, but it will help you tremendously when you face a difficult topic.
Try to keep your focus during lecture – Some lectures are almost impossible to sit through and your grades can easily reflect that. Take notes to keep yourself busy and try to keep good posture. ALWAYS KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS AND WATER WITH YOU! Snacking is the best way to keep you awake in class. If your teacher doesn’t allow snacking you can drink water whenever you feel yourself falling asleep.
“Befriend your professor”- I’m not saying be a kiss ass, but speak up in class and ask your professor questions! The more chill you are with your professor, the more likely they are to warn you about a slipping grade and give you opportunities to bring it up. Also, you’re going to need some professors to write your letter of recommendations and they always sound better if your professor actually remembers having you in the class. The best part of befriending you professor is that some of them have a literal library of books and pdfs that they’d be willing to share with you if you show interest. This tip is most important with professors who are teaching classes from your major!
Join a club - You have time to be in a club!!! Clubs are a great way to gain leadership experience, get active on your campus, and make friends! I was skeptical at first, but joining a club has seriously been the best decision of my college life!
Don’t overwhelm yourself with your bullet journal! – Remember, it’s only effective if it’s functional for you. Try starting with a minimal layout and adding things as you need them. As soon as you come home from school open your bujo or planner and take a look at what you need to do. You don’t have to start your tasks right away but it’s good to have them in your mind. Leave your bujo open on your desk so that you’re reminded to actually do the things you wrote down!
Start your bullet journal’s weekly spread with Sunday, not Monday - This is totally a personal preference but I’ve found it helps me be more productive through the whole week. When Sunday is at the end of my week I have a habit of not writing in my bujo for it and waiting until Monday to take care of my responsibilities.
Set up an assignment tracker - Write down every assignment you do in each class and the grade you received. This will help you see how you’re doing in each class as well as help you calculate your grade towards the end of the semester. It’s frustrating to rely on the professor to upload your assignment grades online so do it yourself!
Build a morning exercise routine – Find something that works for you whether it’s a 10 minute yoga session or an hour long workout. Exercising in the morning can help wake you up and you should see a positive difference if you add meditation into this routine.
Take Breaks - If you find yourself overwhelmed by studying, take a break! This can sometimes be a slippery slope so set a timer on your phone for when your break is over! It’s best to do something productive during your break because it helps you to stay in an active state of mind. Howevr, there’s nothing wrong with scrolling through tumblr for a while as long as you can switch back to your studies.
READ - Not just for school but books that really interest you. If you’re not a big reader it might be because you’ve yet to find something you really like so keep exploring! If reading is a problem for you try some audiobooks! Reading helps you build your vocabulary and writing skills and it’s a never ending source of knowledge and imagination. Seek out books that will help you gain knowledge for your future career path!
Sleep - The most important and most overlooked thing in any college students schedule! I don’t try to go to bed at the same time every day but I do plan my bedtimes based on what time I have to leave in the morning. Look at what time you need to wake up and go to bed eight hours before that. You might have a different bedtime for every day of the week but stick to that on a week to week basis!
Get 2 hobbies! - One that helps your mind and one that helps your body! For your body try skating, bike riding, running, sports with your friends, yoga, hiking, etc. For your mind try writing, drawing, knitting/crocheting, embroidery, painting, gardening, ceramics, etc.
Hope this helped (: