Start Your Semester Off Right
It’s the start of a new semester. Are you ready to make the most of the next few precious months of your academic career? If you are, read on to make this semester of school the best yet.
1. Take a Look Back
It’s not counter intuitive to look back before moving forward—at least not when a semester starts.
The new semester is a new opportunity to refine skills, such as time management, organization and planning. Spend some time reviewing how you managed your coursework last semester.
What things worked well for you? Remember them and plan on doing those things again. Write them down as a checklist. It seems obvious to say that but reminding yourself of those positive actions early will give you the most opportunities to use them again. Look over your class plans and decide where you can apply those good approaches. Can you find more opportunities to use them this semester? For example, if a study group in one class really helped, can you join groups for two classes this semester?
On the flip side—were there situations last semester you don’t want to repeat? If so, ask yourself what you could have done to avoid them. Apply those answers into your semester plan now. As an example, if you wound up cramming for too many exams because you didn’t stay on top of your class reading and notes, change your study habits so you stay current with the class.
2. Calendar Everything
Make a master calendar for your academics. Start with blocking in every regular class time. When you get the semester plan for each class add every assignment/project due date, every quiz and exam date. Look this calendar over and make note of times when you might face an academic pile up—a major paper due the same day you have a major exam, for instance. You’ll know early to stay on top of the writing and the exam review so you aren’t cramming on both at the same time.
3. Meet Your Professors
Your most important resource should know who you are, don’t you think? Even if you sit in a lecture hall of over a 100 students, make the effort to meet your professor on the first day of class—nothing beats meeting them personally and showing your interest in the class they are teaching.
Stop by during their office hours early in the semester as well, even if you don’t have questions about your classwork yet. This is a chance to make professional contacts during your college career. When you do need their help, they’ll remember your earlier courtesy and interest and should engage with you right away.
4. Make ‘Classy’ New Friends
A new semester gives you the chance to make new friends in class. Meet someone new in every class and expand your academic network. They can become personal friends, yes, but they can also be a resource for the class you share. You can share notes if either of you has to miss a class. The pair of you could also start a study group together. You could also become part of each other professional network after school.
5. Try Something New
During the years you spend in college your central focus will be your academic work. You may find you fall into a rut—attending class, studying, and working winds up being all you do. It may feel a bit like you’re waiting for life to start after you graduate. Why not start that life now?
Join a club or pick up a new sport. It doesn’t have to be related to your major. It should be something you are genuinely interested in. You’ll meet new people and learn new things. If it turns out to be as fulfilling as you hope, you’ll have it to look forward to. It will help you relieve stress and refresh yourself mentally. What could be better?
6. Build Your Personal Brand
This advice is directed towards college students more and more frequently. There are a lot of things to build a personal brand and we will offer another post later just on this topic.
In short, every contact and interaction you have with your teachers, fellow students, and employers builds your personal brand. Every social media post you release is a part of your personal brand as well.
If you are a reliable employee who shows up to work on time and does their work well builds a strong personal brand.
Conversely, if your social media posts reveal less than flattering activities or details, your personal brand is weakened. Future employers may review your Facebook, Instagram and other social media. Now is the time to review and remove anything that would indicate lapses in judgement. You should even review and correct your grammar for posts you want to keep.
If you want to learn more about this right now, there are many online articles to read about this issue.
7. Work on Your Health
Yes, we know. You hear this all the time. That’s because it’s important!
Eat healthy food and keep sugary, high-fat foods to a minimum. Eat regularly. Going too long without food will zap you of needed energy to do your work.
Exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be intense or time-consuming. If you tack on extra time walking from class to class you can build activity into your day. Use a phone app that will track your activity to help you know how much activity you are doing.
Get enough sleep. Some students use sleep apps on their phones to track the quantity and quality of their sleep so they really know what they getting. During sleep you will be processing everything you are learning. Short changing this function will be a detriment to your academic goals.
We hope that these tips will help you plan and execute a great semester for yourself. Please share your tried-and-true tips here. We’d love to hear them.