Five Tips for Starting the Semester on the Right Foot


I am so happy to be back on campus. It’s the beginning of my last semester and I know it will be busy in new ways as I continue my job search. To be sure I start the semester with my best foot forward, I spent part of this week preparing for the new semester. I’ve picked up some useful habits that help me feel organized and prepared when life starts getting crazy. I wanted to share in case you’re looking for some tips for starting the semester on the right foot.


Order an agenda/planner (if you haven’t already) and write everything down.

Have you purchased an agenda yet? If not, this post outlines a few useful ones currently available. I use a combination of a written and digital calendars. My written calendar allows me to see the week or month at a glance and the digital calendar provides a great place to set notifications for upcoming deadlines as well as a place to store the log in codes for zoom classes and meetings. 


With my first day of class behind me, I reviewed each class syllabus and wrote down all assignments and test dates as well as project deadlines. I used one of the agenda notes pages to write down each professor’s office hours and how to use them. This year is definitely unique because you have to write what is in-person versus zoom.


With both a new class schedule and work schedule, I find the beginning of the semester a good time to spend some time with the written planner to become familiar with when I will likely have pockets of free time. In the past three and a half years, I have found that setting a bit of a routine for when and where I like to study at the beginning of the semester helps me keep from falling behind.


Set up labels in your Gmail account.

With hybrid and virtual classes, it seems like email communication has increased significantly from professors. Add in emails for student organizations, university communications and retailers, it’s easy for things to get lost in your mailbox. After I’ve read an email, I like to label it with the course name or organization name so I can easily find it if I need to refer to it later.


This easy digital organization tool helps me feel organized and that even my emails have a home. I also like to sort my emails with unread at the top and everything else below so I can more easily see what needs to be attended to and or read first.


Clean your room.

While this tip is not closely related to school or classes, trust me when I say it will help you feel organized! When classes and schoolwork start to pile up, a messy room will only add to the stress and cleaning up will quickly fall low on the priority list. Because our bedrooms are often now our classrooms, having a clean place to work and study will help you feel like life is that much more manageable. 


I also recommend cleaning and organizing your desk area. It’s so easy to keep random papers or swag from events or even handouts collected just walking on campus. You don’t need it! Clear out your drawers and start fresh because you’ll bring home new junk this semester. If you’re like me and have a hard time throwing things out, try to find five pieces you can easily get rid of. You’ll likely find five more you can throw out, too!


Make space on your computer.

Speaking of cleaning, make sure your digital desktop is ready for the semester. There’s nothing worse than the notification that says you’re out of space and can’t save a document. To avoid that midsemester predicament, consider transferring documents from last semester onto Google Drive or a flash drive. Another easy way to clear up space is going through your downloads and deleting anything that doesn’t need to be kept. You likely have many items that can be deleted and will help clear up space!


Try to get on a good sleep schedule.

Because school work is minimal the first week, it can be easy to want to stay up late and hanging out with friends or just sitting on your phone. If possible, I recommend trying to get some good sleep. There will inevitably be some late nights throughout the semester, so enjoy the nights you can head to bed early! Getting to bed at a decent hour will hopefully help avoid sleeping too late as well. The earlier you can start a good sleep schedule, the better!


Whether your semester has already begun or you’re still enjoying the last bit of winter break, I hope you found these tips useful. Do you have any other tips for starting off the semester on the right foot?


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