How to Prepare for Spring Semester (over Break)

If you're anything like me, you've been home for a couple weeks and you're ready to go back to your college town. It's not because I don't want to spend time with my family or see friends from high school. I'm genuinely happy to start a new round of classes. I'm ready to see where my positions in different organizations will take me. It's simultaneously terrifying and exciting to see that I'm almost halfway through my college career. With that said, there's a few things you can do now to prepare for the upcoming semester:

Organize Your Planner

The main thing that made me excited to register for classes was being able to fill in my planner. I write the course code for each class on the days I have it in advance so I can fill in assignments and test days. I also go through my school's Academic Calendar and write in important dates (such as Public Holidays and Midterms/Finals). Last, I copy events from my sorority's semester calendar to my planner so everything is in one place. I use a color coded system, but different methods work for different people. 

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Check Your Syllabi

I've honestly been waiting for my Blackboard to be updated with next semester's classes. If your new syllabi are available, print them out now so there are no surprises on the first day of class. I write down test dates in my planner as soon as I know them. This way you'll know in advance which weeks will be the busiest. If your professor does take time to go over the syllabus, which some upper level instructors won't do, make notes and highlight important things. Keep your syllabus somewhere you can always access it throughout the semester.

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Evaluate Your Previous Semester

Take this opportunity to reflect on the fall semester. What did you accomplish? What do you wish you had done? What study habits worked best for you? Based on my last semester, I'm going to try new ways to take notes in my spring classes. I also want to make an effort to visit my professors' office hours as necessary. This is something I always said I would do more last semester and always put off. Then suddenly it was the week before finals and I didn't want to be that person.

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Set Goals

It's important to have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Timely) goals for yourself. Write them down and measure your progress. Make sure you have ways to accomplish your goals so you can actively work towards a positive result. Make a plan to check up on these goals and hold yourself accountable.

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Buy Textbooks

This is the one thing I dread about a new semester. It's rough watching hundreds of dollars go towards textbooks, but you don't have to. Last semester, I rented almost all of my books through Amazon and saved a lot of money I would have spent at the bookstore. While you have time, shop around and compare prices to find the best deal. I would also recommend not opening any new books so you can return them if your professor says you don't need it. I'm also a fan of using online books, which saves you some money if you already need to purchase an access code for assignments. However, I know that this doesn't work for everyone.

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How are you preparing for the spring semester? Let me know by leaving a comment below! Also, check out my other college-related blog posts here.

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