I love the beginning of a new semester, and it’s not just because I’m mildly addicted to new office supplies or that fall is my favorite season. The start of a new semester is also a chance to start new habits, accomplish new goals, and be the best version of yourself yet. There’s so much potential at the beginning of the semester. In this post, I’m going to touch on five things that you can do to set yourself up to have your most successful semester yet!
1. Write all of your deadlines on your calendar
One of the best ways to set your semester up for success is to write all of your class assignment deadlines into your calendar. Forgetting to turn in an assignment can tank your grade in a class. Using your syllabi to write down when everything is due at the beginning of the semester decreases the probability that you’ll forget something. If you chose to use a digital calendar, like Google, you can also set reminders so that you remember to start the assignment on time. While you’re at it, this is probably a good time to make sure that you save all assignment guides, directions, etc. to a single place: a binder, notebook, or on your computer. That way when you go to complete the assignment, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
2. Get to know your professors outside of class time
As I’ve written in other posts, getting to know your professors outside of class time can set you up well for the rest of the semester. Getting to know your professors can help when it come time to ask for letters of recommendation, or references for an on campus job. Beyond those reasons, having an established relationship with a professor can also be helpful if you run into problems later on in the class. Struggling with a concept? Perhaps something crazy happens to your computer the night before your major paper is due. Having a pre-existing relationship with a professor outside of the classroom can lead to extra help or understanding if you hit a stumbling block later on in the semester. As a final bonus, professors are well connected on campus and are good resources for learning more about extra curricular or other opportunities, honors, and awards–all the things that look good on a resume. In short, professors are your ultimate resource. Make good use of them.
3. Join a new extracurricular or take on a leadership role in one you already participate in
The beginning of the semester is a great time to try out something new. Joining a new extra curricular at college is a good opportunity to explore new interests that you haven’t tried before. Most universities have a wide variety of clubs and teams that cover an extensive array of activities: try horseback riding or waterskiing. Maybe check out the debate team or Model UN. Perhaps you’re interested in running for student government or you’ve always wanted to know more about Asian cultures. Try joining the student senate or explore the cultural centers on campus. These types of activities are great for getting experience in a field you might want to work in and for getting to know students outside of your dorm floor or major who share your interests. If you’re already a member of a club or activity, try taking on a leadership role in your club or team. Join the executive board or take the lead on a big project or event.
4. Do some service
Spending some time giving back to your campus or city community has many benefits from being a great talking point in interviews to giving you valuable experiences, to helping to improve where you are spending most of your time. According to Americorps, there is also a growing body of research that shows volunteering to have a beneficial impact on your health! Many colleges and universities have resources for students who are looking to volunteer in the community. Some every plan campus wide volunteer days or offer credit hours for getting involved. If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved in your community, check out Americorp’s tips for college students looking to volunteer: https://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/VIA_tips_volunteering_college.pdf
5. Plan in something fun to do
All work and no play makes Jack (or Jane) a dull person. Make sure that in trying to have your best semester ever, you leave some time free for fun. Taking time off and being social are good for your mental and emotional health. Don’t just go on a Netflix binge, however! Not that an evening with pizza, ice cream and your favorite binge worthy show isn’t necessary every once in a while, but the idea here is to get out and get social. If you’re not interested in planning things on your own, check out what your campus activities board has planned. Many colleges offer free or discounted movie nights, cultural nights (that often include free food), and other concerts and events.