computer and planner in arm with bush in background

How To Be Prepared For This Semester

By Piper Blake
Web Content Contributor

Whether you are an incoming freshman or soon-to-be-senior, heading back to classes after a long break isn’t always a great time. Now that we are finally past our first two weeks of the new semester, classes are beginning to get a routine down. This also means students are becoming aware of what is expected from their teachers. Being prepared for those classes is a must. Keeping on top of assignments and due dates will keep the anxiety at bay and make for a less stressful semester.

Print out each syllabus from your classes

4 sets of paper packets with class information highlighted
Printed syllabi from each of my classes.

A great way to be aware of deadlines is by utilizing the course calendar that the teacher provides in the syllabus. This will give students a rough outline of the dates that assignments will be due and exams will be administered. I always go through each syllabus and highlight the important dates so I can put them in my planner. Also, it is always a good idea to look back at what is expected from the teacher in the syllabus, so important information about the course isn’t missed.

Getting a planner

monthly calendar layout with due dates filled in for the month
Having a planner is a great way to keep track of assignments. Photo by Piper Blake.

Planners, for me, are the best way to keep track of everything I need to get done throughout the month or week. The monthly calendar is where I put all major due dates I highlighted from the syllabi. This lets me prepare myself for what is coming up so I can plan study time. The weekly calendar is a resource that allows me to plan out what needs to be completed on a day to day basis. This really helps with keeping track of assignments that are reoccurring every week and more flexible than something on the monthly calendar.

Create a weekly to-do list

Graphing paper filled out with colored highlighter and pen. The document describes assignments that need to be done each week.
This list is for recurring assignments from classes each week. Photo by Piper Blake.

We all have readings that are required every week, and weekly homework that goes over what was taught in lecture. This weekly list helps you keep track of those assignments. I create the list on a piece of blank paper so it has all the information I need, and I can design it the way I want. Then, at the beginning of the week I put these assignments in my weekly planner. It’s like a second reminder so I won’t miss those assignments.

Cross things off as you complete them

Crossing things off in the planner as they are completed is a great way to stay motivated. It gives off a sense of confidence by accomplishing something. I do this for all my assignments I put on my weekly planner. Once I have finished the week, I can see all the things I got done. Doing this on the monthly calendar helps also.

All in all, staying organized is a process. It takes time to create good habits that will help you be successful. I am a person that gets stressed out without a game plan for what must be completed and when. Some people don’t need as much structure, but it’s always helpful to have a guide to help improve your work ethic if needed. So, if you want to be less stressed and more productive throughout the semester, I recommend trying these simple steps.

Featured image by Piper Blake.

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