The Collegiates Guide to Preparing for Next Semester.

If you’re in college you’re probably either finishing up your finals or already at home trying to forget the trauma this past semester put you through. Unless you graduated after this semester (and if you did, congratulations!) I have some bad news for you: You’re going to have to do it all again. Don’t get me wrong. For the most part college is great and fun and honestly amazing. But with all of those great jolly qualities comes: due dates, anxiety, hundreds of assignments, little sleep, and stress.

Luckily those not so happy parts of college can be either avoided, or at the very least minimized with just a bit of extra planning. I have said this a thousand times before, but I am an organization junkie. I love having planners and folders and notebooks with very specific purposes so that my head doesn’t explode due to stress. My method of preparation may not work for everyone – but I certainly do hope that it will help a lot. I am publishing this with plenty of time before the next semester starts so that you have all of break to prepare.

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Your tools for next semester:

  • A planner
  • A five subject notebook (two if you have more than five classes)
  • Fresh loose leaf paper (lined or unlined, depending on your preference)
  • A White Board
  • Sticky Notes
  • Folders (If there aren’t ones built into your five subject)

A Planner

I have gushed over the merits of a planner time and time again – so I won’t bore you too much with that. What I will do is give you a very important task to do after syllabus week. Once you’ve compiled all of the syllabi for each one of your classes, take an hour to sort through every due date, exam, and quiz and write them down in y0ur planner. I do different colors for each class, and highlight the exams. This is going to be so helpful in the future. Having every important date in one place will help you manage your time and know what to expect in the week ahead.

If you want to see my full post on how to use a planner you can check it out here. Prefer a technological approach? Try Google Calendar.

White board

Now that you have all of your due dates organized in one place it’s time to prepare your whiteboard. I am planning on writing an in depth post on how to use your whiteboard for organization, but I’ll map out a few key tips:

  • Until you have your schedule memorized; have it written on the top of your whiteboard with a ‘week at a glance’ type layout.
  • At the start of every week copy due dates down and erase them as you finish them.
  • Add any other commitments like work, clubs, etc.
  • Write a to-do list at the beginning of every week.

White boards are great because of how flexible they are. Finish something and you can completely erase it. That feature is great because you have a visual cue reminding you of your commitments for the week so you can keep that in mind before making plans.

The Five Subject Notebook.

Why carry a five subject notebook as opposed to five one subjects? Easy: Organization. It’s easy to keep track of your notes, handouts, and assignments if they are all in one place. If you have five one subject notebooks and five folders it’s easy to be in a rush one morning, grab the wrong one, and then you’re out of luck.

I use these notebooks which are great because they have five subjects and folders separating each subject so that I don’t have the need to carry around more than one notebook and all of my papers are together always.

Sticky Notes.

If you don’t already use sticky notes – you should probably start. They are great for jotting ideas down, little reminders, and tabbing pages on books. I have some in my desk, some in my backpack, and chances are there are some within ten feet of me at all times. No lie. They are that important. At the very least use them to jot down the ideas that ‘you’re sure you’ll remember.’ Because if you’re anything like me you actually aren’t going to remember your brilliant idea unless you write it down.

Keep this in mind for next semester:

  • Your grades don’t define you. That’s not to say they aren’t important – but it’s so easy to get so caught up with them that you forget that there is more to you than the grades you are making. Trust me – I’ve been there. If you are trying hard and doing everything in your power to do well then you should be incredibly proud of that because you’re doing more than most.
  • Reward yourself. You need to celebrate your accomplishments. Finish that incredibly dry reading? Watch some YouTube videos. Passed that test you studied endlessly for? Time to unwind and go on a walk.
  • If you feel bad talk to someone. The stress gets to us all. You’re not alone and you’ll get through this. Don’t have anyone to talk to? Then talk to me. I am more than happy to be there for any of you if you need it, lets be friends!
  • The semester isn’t over until it’s over. If your grades are down then fight to get them up. Talk to the professor about extra credit (hey, you might get lucky,) study your booty off for the exams, and don’t let yourself get behind on assignments. You can do this!

Good luck next semester – you will do great! Do you have any tips on how others might make it through the semester successfully? Share them below!!

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