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College Success

10 Ideas to Start the Semester Strong

Some college students don’t view the first week of class as anything more than a time to take it easy, but it can be a great time to set solid routines for the rest of the semester. A successful start will help carry you through your best semester yet.

1. Buy a planner

This should go without saying! This will be your lifeline for keeping up with all of your classes, appointments and meetings. As soon as an event gets scheduled, write it down. You’ll be less likely to forget about it.

2. Write out all of your assignments, quizzes, and tests

Use your planner for this! As soon as your professor hands you the syllabus, write down all of the important deadlines. Papers, assignments, homework, quizzes, tests, and the final should all be in there. Don’t forget to include the room too.

3. Write out your goals

Sit down and write down all of your goals for the semester. Think about what you hope to accomplish. Take a look at your classes, extracurricular activities, intramurals, friendships, internship opportunities or any other categories where you want to improve, learn or grow.

4. Go to all office hours before the first exam

This helps in a few different ways. It gives you a leg up in terms of starting to a form a relationship with your professors. It also helps you settle into helpful routines that you’ll benefit from later.

When the final rolls around, your professor will know your name, and you won’t get lost trying to find her office.

5. Set healthy routines

Think about what makes you feel happy and healthy. If that’s going for a run, think about writing that into your planner! If that’s taking an hour to yourself to recharge, write that into your planner too.

Set your schedule early so that you can maintain your health and sanity.

6. Download Focus

The easiest way to avoid procrastinating is to download Focus. It is a program that blocks specific websites for a set amount of time.

When you sit down to study, make sure you block your social media sites and your favorite blogs or other sites. You won’t be able to procrastinate and you’ll be much more productive.

7. Do a big grocery shopping trip

Walk yourself over to the frozen food aisle and get your favorite fruits, vegetables, and type of protein. Think about getting cans of beans and bags of rice too. These non-perishables make it easier to eat healthily (and cheaply!) when midterms hit and you are too busy to go to the grocery store.

If you have your own bathroom, grab more toilet paper than you think you’ll ever need. It will be one less errand to run when you get busy.

8. Sign up for tutoring, community service and health center reminders

These help set you up for later in the semester. With tutoring reminders, you’ll be more likely to stop in if you’re struggling with a specific chapter or concept. With community service reminders, you’ll be more likely to grab a few friends and stop by the food bank. With health center reminders, you’ll be more likely to stop in for a flu shot or wellness check.

9. Outline your budget

Think about making a spreadsheet or downloading a money tracking app to set your budget. The last thing you want is to get to midterms and have no money for that absolutely necessary Starbucks trip!

Take into account any income from part-time jobs or work-study, and then think about what a reasonable amount of money is to spend on groceries, eating out, shopping, etc. Once you’ve created your budget, stick to it!

10. Set your alarm to wake up

Figure out when you’ll need to get up each day of the week and set your alarm to repeat weekly. If your Wednesdays start an hour earlier than every other weekday, you won’t have to remember to change your alarm each time. No excuses for missing that lab!

Whether you can do all of these things or only some of them, you’ll be well on your way to your best semester yet!

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