10 Tips to Start the Semester Right

10 Tips to Start the Semester RightThe Spring semester has started! My first week is over but I think that all of these still apply so I’m glad to be sharing these with you guys. It’s been a month, if you can believe it, since you were last in school and that probably means you’re a little bit stressed. But that’s perfectly okay because these 10 tips are going to make sure that you have the smoothest transition into the new semester.

1// Set Goals

I can already tell you that my semester has been extremely productive because of the goals I’ve made for this semester. Seriously, creating goals is the best way to have a general guideline for a short period of time. You’re bound to see an increase in productivity and overall happiness with your life.

I recommend setting a couple of semester goals and then breaking those down month by month. You can check out my spring semester and January goals to see what I’m talking about.

2// Go to class

I’d like to pretend that every student gets to every single class but that’s just not realistic. However, I implore you to go for at least the first two weeks. You need to get a feel for the professor and for the class to see whether you’re going to stick with it for the rest of the semester. Also, you want to make a good impression on your professor from day one – if you need that extra point or two to get an A, this will be helpful.

More importantly, going to class can save you literally hundreds of dollars. This semester I managed to save myself from having to buy an $80 book just because I’d been in class. It’s frustrating that they don’t just correct it in their syllabus, but professors are busy and would rather just tell you in class. So don’t skip out you first week.

3// Make Your Schedule Work

Add/Drop period is the time to get your schedule down. Dropping classes here will have absolutely no effect on your GPA nor will it show up on your transcript. This good for you because you can try as many different professors and classes as you’d like and make sure you’re in a class that you can succeed in.

Another great about Add/Drop week is the fact that you can check to see if you’ll be able to get to your classes on time. My campus is pretty large and the classes I’m taking are pretty spread out so getting to class on time can be a challenge. Add/Drop week however is the perfect time to test if you can make it in a timely manner from one class to the next without being penalized for being late.

After Add/Drop week, dropping a class shows up on your transcript. It may not affect your GPA but the class will still show as you having withdrawn from it. And past the withdrawal deadline, any class you drop will show up as WF meaning Withdrawal Fail and will severely impact your GPA. So use Add/Drop week wisely and get into classes that you want to be in and that are going to work for you.

4// Wait to Buy Textbooks

Don’t buy your textbooks before classes start. Better yet, wait until after Add/Drop week because then you’ll know which textbooks you need. It’s unlikely that your professor is going to do any real teaching during this week because there are going to be an influx of new people so you shouldn’t have to worry about missing anything.

Like I said in Tip #2, your professor is likely to tell you what books you really need and whether or not you can use an older edition. You can save yourselves hundreds of dollars by waiting for a little bit of time.

In one of my classes, I’ve come to realize that I didn’t have to buy this textbook because the professor basically copies things word for word. Fortunately the book was relatively inexpensive … for a textbook, which isn’t really saying much. If I had waited, I would have saved about $20 and a lot of frustration.

5// Utilize your Syllabus

Your syllabus is easily the most important document that your professor is going to give you all year. And yet there are tons of people who never read the entire thing. It’s astonishing really. And also a little annoying to hear that one person who clearly didn’t read the syllabus ask questions about the syllabus. Don’t be that person.

I wrote an entire post on the 3 Things You Should be Doing with Your Syllabus so you can avoid being the ill-informed one in class. And so you can have a more planned out life. It makes life easier and that’s all that really matters.

6// Set a Wake-Up Time

I get my best work done in the morning, that’s just the way that I am. Because of that, I schedule my classes to be in the morning which means I have to wake up pretty early. I don’t mind the early wake-up call because I’ve reset my circadian clock by waking up early every single day.

Resetting your circadian rhythm will make it easier for you to function throughout the day. There are number of things that you can do, but the most important two are: setting an alarm for the same time every day and get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.

Of course, there are other things you can do to make this process easier but those two are incredibly important to being able to function well throughout the day.

I recommend setting your alarm for an hour to an hour and a half before you need to your dorm or apartment to get to class. An hour is a good amount of time to get a large chunk of things done, from getting ready and eating to checking Twitter and Instagram to planning the rest of your day. Overall, you should see a productivity increase.

7// Clean Out Your Room

Every once in a while, doing a deep clean is really therapeutic. But doing it right before the semester starts can be kinda fun. It’s nice to get rid of stuff you don’t need any more and to free your space of clutter. It’s always good to start of the year in space that isn’t going to overwhelm you.

You should really focus your cleaning efforts on the place where you spend most of your time, aka your desk. You want it to be a functional space and also a bit inspirational. For tips on how to do jus that, check out my 5 tips for a functional study desk.

8// Set Up an Exercise Plan

While you’re busy setting up your ideal schedule, you should also make sure you leave time to get at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercises 3-5 times a week. You’ll also want to set up whatever gear you take to the gym or that you use in your dorm so that you’re ready to go when workout time comes.

You should also create a workout plan for the first couple of days so that you’re not wasting a second of time trying to think of things to do. I wish I had followed this advice because my roommate and I spent an hour at the gym on our first day and about 20 minutes of that was just walking around trying to decide what we wanted to do next. Save yourself and go in with a game plan.

9// Chill with Friends

After the first week, you’ll definitely be a little bit tired and maybe a little stressed but some time with your friends is always a good way to relax and destress.

On MLK Day, my friends and I got together in one of our dorms and watched an episode of The Bachelor (a first for me). It was a good way to have a really fun laugh and to take a break from the craziness of school and of life in general.

Set some time for you and your friends to just hang out. There doesn’t have to be a big plan or anything, it should be relaxing and fun. Trust me, it’ll be nice to block out the world for a little bit of time.

10// Get Pumped

It’s a new semester. Get excited about being on campus and taking new classes. Maybe, if you’re a little strange like me, you’re even excited about the homework and learning process.

Embrace the new semester and think about it positively. It’s going to be great and you’re going to be awesome.


I’ve finished my first week a little earlier than most and that definitely helped me right this post so I hope these tips will be helpful to you. I’m really glad to be back on campus, I’ve missed being busy and I’ve really missed learning. I hope you guys are happy to be back on campus too.

What tips do you have for the start of the new semester? What are your predictions for what this semester will be like?