It’s July and the new semester (and new school year, for some) is beginning to slowly, but surely, creep up on us. This means it’s the perfect time to start getting organised for the upcoming school season!
Step One: It’s out with the old and in with the new!
Organise old notes.
If you keep old notes, store them away but if you don’t feel free to toss them away. One tip I always use when deciding what to do with last semester’s notes is to keep notes on subjects that are prerequisites for subjects I’m about to take. I do this because it’s assumed that I’ll remember last semester’s work but if I do forget, I can always go back and look!
Clean out stationery
Take out your pencil case, grab all the stationery from your desk and figure out what doesn’t work anymore, what you don’t need and what you need to replace. This way you’re all prepared to get to work when classes begin!
Sell or return old textbooks
If you’re renting your textbooks or borrowed them from the library – return them. Money is already tight around this time of year, so don’t waste any more than necessary on overdue fees. If you keep your books in decent condition and don’t need them again, now is the perfect time to sell them! If you’re an Australian, like me, the best place I’ve found to sell textbooks is on StudentVIP but if you know of somewhere else to sell (and buy!) used textbooks, let me know in the comments!
Assess what didn’t work last semester and change it!
The last and most important thing for me to do at this time is to take a second to reflect, figure out what worked for me last semester/year and what I need to change. For example, last semester the way I organised my notes was a total mess but this semester I plan on going as paperless as possible and I’m going to test out using OneNote. This way I can write out my textbook notes, add in my lecture notes and class notes and the information is all together and consolidated. Plus, I’m not wasting paper that I’d probably just throw out once exams are over!
Step two: Get it together.
It’s time to get all those loose ends tied and get ready for classes to begin!
Buy your textbooks and notebooks
Buying textbooks can be tricky. Some people wait until the first class or lecture before buying books, others buy them as soon as possible. Personally, I wait until I get my syllabus before buying books so I can see which one’s I’ll need. This might only work, though, if, like me, you can get your hands on your syllabus online before classes start.
Either way, make sure you either buy, order or budget for your textbooks in order to start the semester off on the right foot.
Print off your syllabus
The biggest tip I give to new university students is to live and breathe by your syllabus. This thing is the guide to your classes and is going to help you pass. It holds everything from contact information to assessment info and weekly textbook readings. You need to read it.
I keep a copy saved to my computer and have a hard copy that I take with me to classes in the first week and then keep on my desk.
Organise your planner or bullet journal
Now that you have your syllabus and you know when everything is due, it’s time to add things to your planner or bullet journal. Personally, my favourite way to do this is to use coloured sticky notes (I designate a colour to each class!) in my planner. This way if things change, I don’t make a mess of my planner and I can easily move it around.
Step Three: Get class ready!
Now that the first week is here, it’s time to get ready for class!
Check your school’s online site (LMS, Blackboard, etc.) and school email
It’s super important to check out for any important notices before class. Things like classroom changes, things to bring or have done before class and the like will all be shared through your school’s learning management site or through email, so make sure you don’t miss out!
Double check your timetable
There’s nothing more embarrassing than rocking up to the wrong class because you didn’t read your timetable properly. Add it to your phone calendar and check it before you walk to the wrong side of campus.
If you’ve got any concerns or questions, email your professors
There’s alway minimal time after classes or lectures to ask important questions. It’s even harder when questions are a bit personal. I always make sure to email any questions to my professor or tutor as soon as I can, that way any problem can be sorted out fast and it doesn’t turn into a bigger problem.
Is there anything, in particular, you do to get ready for a new semester? Let me know in the comments below!