We all love having time away from school, whether it’s summer vacation or winter break, so when it comes time to start a new semester, we often find ourselves unprepared to go back to a school routine. Fall semester especially can be difficult after spending several months away from your Dallas campus, classes, and studying. Trying to adapt and get back in the swing of things at the beginning of the semester can affect your schoolwork, so it’s important to be prepared before classes start.
- Read the syllabi. There is so much helpful information in your syllabi, so take the time to read them when your professors make them available! Not only do they outline all the due dates for the semester (super important for staying organized!), they usually contain the professor’s contact information. And if you have any reading or assignments to do before the first class, your syllabus will have that information as well, so you won’t get behind before the semester even starts.
- Get organized. Buying a planner is a good place to start so you can write down all those due dates you got from your syllabi. This is especially helpful for seeing which weeks will be really busy and which will be calmer, so you can plan your time and studying accordingly. Aside from a planner, don’t forget to stock up on any other school supplies you may need like notebooks, pens, or binders – you don’t want to find out on the first day of class that you don’t have any working pens!
- Order your textbooks. While we aren’t always ready to start studying again, many professors hit the ground running at the beginning of the semester with lots of reading. You don’t want to get behind in the first weeks just because you don’t have your textbooks yet! If you don’t want to order until you know that you need them, make a plan for how you’re going to get the readings done – sharing a textbook with a friend or making a few extra trips to the library are easy ways to make sure you stay on top of the work while also not buying textbooks you won’t need. Don’t forget to ask friends who have had your professor before if they used the textbooks in that class.
- Get back on a schedule. Even if you have a summer job or internship it’s easy to associate time away from school with staying up too late and sleeping in. Getting up early to go to class is hard, so try preparing for it by setting your alarm a little earlier each day so that when classes start, you’re ready to go! Those first few weeks will be so much easier if you’re on a schedule and are getting enough sleep.
- Think about logistics. While you almost certainly know where you’re living and who you’re living with for the coming year, have you stopped to think about things like food and transportation? If you’re living farther from campus, it’s good to think about how you’re going to get to class each day, whether that’s walking, biking, or catching a ride with a friend (to name just a few ways). If you’re living in a dorm and plan to eat all your meals in the dining halls, you may not need to think as much about grocery shopping. However, if you’re going to do any cooking for yourself it’s an important thing to consider, especially if you’re living with roommates who also plan to cook.
These are just a few ways you can plan ahead and be more prepared and organized when the new semester starts!